When I was nine years old, I attended a summer camp called King’ Camp, where I rode horses for the first time. At the end of the week, our counselors took us on a trail ride around the property. After a week of practicing, I rode the trail with as much confidence as Will Smith in his box office hit (or miss), Wild Wild West. This nine-year old’s swagger came to an abrupt halt as I rounded the last corner and the horse saw the barn. Much like a runner who sees the finish line, the horse went into a dead sprint. I immediately went from casually and confidently holding on with one hand to having a death grip on the reins. No matter how loud I yelled “Woah” and pulled back, the horse was full-steam ahead. I had lost control. The joy ride was over and now I was just holding on for dear life.
Our workweek can fill a lot like this. At one point we were in control of our schedule, our to-do list got done, and we had some breathing room, but at some point along the way we lost control of our workweek and it gained control of us. Much like the Somalian pirate in Captain Phillips, our schedule looks at us and says, “I am the captain now.”
As I felt myself losing control of my workweek, I took five simple steps to regain control. These aren’t silver bullets nor are they a magic potion that gives you more hours for your workweek, but they do help you maximize your time. Most of these principles can be applied regardless if you have full control of your schedule or not. If you don’t think you can make the change due to a boss, have a meeting with him/her and ask if you can start doing one of these practices.
If a genie gave you the ability to work 20% faster, could you finally get your business to the next level? If those difficult tasks you had could be resolved with the click of one Staples EASY button, could you finally get your inbox to zero or your to-do list complete? If you could execute tasks quicker and more efficiently could you make the big moves that you have been dreaming about?
The myth about productivity is that if we had more time or if we could work quicker, we could accomplish everything we need to. But what if efficiency is not the most important factor for our productivity?
Consider if I went to go see the Celtics-Lakers game in Boston. It doesn’t matter how fast I drive or how quickly I got to Boston Garden, if the game was actually played in Los Angeles. A quick pace is only as helpful as a clear direction. In our work week, we have to know what our goals are and what responsibilities will contribute the most to accomplishing those goals. This is why productivity is about priority, not pace.
In previous posts, I wrote about what empowerment is and why it is so important in leadership. Even with this clarity, there are barriers that prevent our conviction from being implemented in our ministry/organization. Below are seven barriers that prevent leaders from empowering others to help with projects, programs, processes, and people. Over my decade of ministry, I have allowed each one of these barriers to prevent me from empowering others, thus robbing them of the opportunity to use their gifts and leaving me exhausted.
Empowerment is currently a buzz-word in many church circles. Church leaders know that it’s important, but they don’t know what it is and how to do it. Nonetheless, often the church leader enthusiastically grabs his or her emerging leader and begins to delegate things away and calls it empowerment. The problem is that delegation and empowerment are different and when we don’t understand what empowerment is, we will never hit it. Instead we will mistakingly embrace one of its three imposters which leave church members confused and church leaders disappointed.
WHAT IS EMPOWERMENT?
Think back to the last time you saw a student driver car on the road. If you are like me, you did whatever you could to avoid the fifteen year old that was potentially behind the wheel for the first time. Despite the fear it places in nearby cars, what is happening between the student and the instructor is a great example of empowerment.
In his book, Sticky Church, Larry Osborne identified a predominant belief in the church that he labeled the Holy Man Myth. “[This] is the idea that pastors and clergy somehow have a more direct line to God. It cripples a church because it overburdens pastors and underutilizes the gifts and anointing of everyone else. It mistakenly equates leadership gifts with superior spirituality (Stick Church, 49).”
When the Holy Man Myth is embraced, church leaders believe the lie that the execution of ministry rests fully on their shoulders, while lay people believe the lie that they are consumers not contributors. This leads to leaders executing the ministry of the church from the platform to the parking lot; from the church to the home. Their job description reflects the mentality below: