As we wrap up 2011 and expectantly enter 2012, it’s an interesting question to ask, what’s the score?  Given the holidays and all the multitudes of scores we try to keep up with, being sports fanatics, how many of us are asking ‘What’s the score?’ in our personal lives?

The scoreboard in my life has been both a friend and foe to me.  Friend when it looked good, and foe when it did not, or so I  thought.  Yet the scoreboard is neutral.  It’s a truth-table of events, relationships and tasks.  I am a sinful man, saved only by the grace of God by the finished work on the Cross.  The bible says in Matthew 7: ‘You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.’ So how is scoreboard and fruit connected.

As I scan through different events in my life I have noticed one pattern, I hardly paid attention to the scoreboard.  Or worse, I wasn’t even keeping score and yet wondered why I wasn’t happy with the fruit I was producing.  I’ll give you a couple of examples:  Growing up in India, education and school were such integral part of our upbringing.  If you have Indian friends, it is assumed that people like us are  good in math and science, or at least 9 out of 10 of them.  You guessed it, I was that 1 out of 10.  It takes courage to pay attention to the scoreboard when you know either you are falling short or worse yet, you are going into the game knowing that you are not good enough.  Things like self image and inherent sin in our lives have a lot to do with how we look at the scoreboard.  It is so important to have the right kind of encouragement around you during these times.  Needless to say, the many lessons that I would have learned from the Plan, Do , Check and Adjust process, had I known then.  It is not about right or wrong but about having the guts to face the reality of the scoreboard.  Which can only be done if you are focused on the end goal (fruit), seeking the right mentorship and making the right adjustments.  I did finish college with a Bachelors and Masters, but out of brute force of will only to realize that I  had missed so many crucial lessons in the process.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for God’s grace in accomplishing the same.

Later in my corporate and business life I realized that whether I was paying attention to the scoreboard or not I was a part of a scoreboard someone was paying attention to.  The ’employee-ism’ over the years has forced people (or allowed) to delegate the scoreboard to someone else.  This is sad, but true.  For the first few years I was like this.  Later, as I helped start companies, helping them go public, losing to bankruptcies, I learned a lot about keeping score.  I also noticed how we as a society have learned to manipulate and make scoreboards  to our liking.  But make no mistake, the scoreboard in it of itself is not the final score.  The fruit we bear is.  May I cite the Enrons of the world, the entitlement programs, the banking system, so on and so forth.  It’s almost like we legislate the behavior to manipulate it and call it ‘legal’ and in the process abandon the truth. The ‘winning at any cost’, ‘winning is the only thing’, ‘if you don’t win you are loser’ or it’s cousin, victim thinking (even church-going Christians subscribe to this) has brought to bear the central issue that needs to be addressed called CHARACTER. The scoreboard of life is the single biggest measurement of the character we have up until that point and the character development we are going to undertake or abandon by the PDCA process.  My friend Tim Marks is a master of utilizing the scoreboard to propel him forward in his life.

So how do we make our scoreboard propel us to be the best God wants us to be?

1) Have a dream big enough that it scares you to become the person you need to become and without God’s help it will not come true.

2) Enter into a field or environment where keeping score and PDCA process is the cultural norm.

3) Keep a personal scoreboard.

4) Be accountable to someone who also is chasing a scoreboard and seek mentorship.  Make the adjustments whether it is in character, strategy or relationships.  Remember nothing is fatal, only not paying attention to the scoreboard is.

5) Utilize the PDCA process to it fullest.

6) Give all glory to God.

What I love about you is that you are a hungry enough student to read this.

The scoreboard, the wins, the losses, the joys, the heartaches, 2011, 2012, you and me, all of it is a love affair with life.

God bless you and keep you. 2 Timothy 1:7

Venkat Varada