Weekly Thought – August 22, 2017
Fred encouraged results. He appreciated process and activity, but focused on the outcome. Those who came to him with lots of talk but nothing else found him to give little comfort. His training by Maxey Jarman deeply impacted his own path and that of many others.
Be Ye Doers
Make results your measure for activity. A friend had this wall motto: “Results is the only excuse for activity.” It sounds obvious, but amazingly few people are really results oriented. Most are satisfied with activity and best effort. They forget there are no medals for “best try.” Results count, not activity.
The best way to stay focused is to keep asking, “What am I really trying to accomplish?” My friend Baxter Ball, VP of Mobil put it into an arithmetical symbol “+4.” When he said, “Just give me the +4 he wanted to deal without any embellishments…” he wanted the nut of the matter. Don’t ask me where he got it. I just knew what he meant when he said it!
Many regale others (especially bosses) with the details of exhausting activity: how many miles they traveled, how tough the job is, how many hours they worked, etc. expecting this to make up for lack of activity. It is my experience that those who use activity to produce results downplay the preparation and highlight the outcome. Reports of poor production are often prefaced with excuses and rationalizations.
One of my more caustic friends was listening to a young executive tell how tired he was. The young employee went through how much trouble he had on the job, how difficult it was, and what unexpected problems arose. In the midst of this my friend interrupted, “Please show me the baby and don’t tell me about the labor pains.” I totally grabbed that and my children, business associates, and others who come for counsel will hear it if they start wandering down the activity trail instead of showing results.
I ask you, was my friend discourteous? No, not one bit. He was teaching results and not effort. Unfortunately, for many individuals and companies, this lesson is never learned. As an aside, I believe parents who reward and award where results do not exist are doing a disservice to their children. There is a clear line between parental encouragement and building a fantasy world of expectations. Children who try but do not accomplish will never be high achievers. A parent should learn how to find a child’s areas of strength and guide them to productive activity, not just activity.
On my wall is a plaque given to me by Mason Roberts when he was President of Frigidaire. “Having done my best today, it will be easier to do better tomorrow.” Each night as he left the office he would tear off a day on his desk calendar, thank God for the day and assess his progress. If, however, he didn’t feel he had accomplished enough, he would hang up his hat, sit down, and work until he felt comfortable enough to leave. For Mason, results mattered.
This week think about: 1) How can I manage myself to focus on results, not just activity? 2) What hinders my progress? 3) Where do I need to discipline my activity to produce more results?
Words of Wisdom: “Reports of poor production are often prefaced with excuses and rationalizations.”
Wisdom from the Word: “And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:6 NET Bible)