Weekly Thought – August 13, 2019
Fred identified key leadership principles early in his career, but he didn’t stop to write about them until the mid-80s. Having his thoughts captured through articles, notes, and speeches creates an on-going legacy for all of us.
Please pray for the fall BWFLI schedule and those who will be going to Palm Beach Atlantic University for the What’s Next Roundtable. Your financial support is certainly appreciated to underwrite these efforts as the Christian colleges and universities are charged no fees, nor do the team members receive honoraria.
I use this as a working definition: “an executive is not a person who can do the work better than the employees; he or she is a person who can get the team to get the work done better than he/she can.” My responsibility is to be a super-visor, not a super-worker. Times of physical inactivity can provide space for strategic thinking. My system requires competence around me. It demands a finely tuned method of selection, development, and motivation.
It is built on the foundation of decisiveness. Not quick draw reactions, but well-trained and disciplined decisions.
Recently, I looked at an organization with problems. I asked the board, “Is our lead horse strong enough to pull the wagon?”
“No,” was their answer.
“Okay, where is the one we need?” That prompted a search, hire, and move forward. I could have approached it differently by saying, “This man we have is sincere. With enough help, he just might make it.” What would be the probable result? Five years pulling with him and then finding out he just couldn’t do the job. A tremendous amount of time and effort would have been wasted, paralyzing the organization. The earlier the make a decision about a failure and cut your losses, the less actual loss.
I once asked a banker, “What do you consider when you make a loan?”
“I always think, never delay a failure with my money.”
People spend endless energy delaying failures. In truth, we see change as catastrophic when it is very often the very door we need. I sent one of our daughters a quote I saw when she was in the midst of change: “I refused to change until it became too painful to stay where I was.” Sometimes growth is forced upon us.
Insurance company executive Roger Hull liked to talk about people who succeed after failing… even seeing the failure as the foundation for success. If you are the head of something and you don’t make it go, that’s your responsibility. If you are not making it, you ought to make a change. If you haven’t got the guts to make the change yourself, then somebody ought to make it for you.
People who wait around trying to find the pleasant, comfortable moment to make difficult decisions are simply kidding themselves. When you know a situation is going wrong, then do something to alleviate it. The answer to most problems is the right people in the right places. (Editor’s note: this was written in the 1980s before the concept became common place.)
This week think about: 1) Where have I grown by making a change, even if painful? 2) How can I help someone else stop delaying failure? 3) When do I slip into super-worker versus super-visor?
Words of Wisdom: “Sometimes growth is forced upon us.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. He shoulders responsibility and is called: Extraordinary Strategist, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NET Bible)