If you’re a “task-driven” person (I’ve been told I’m one of them), this one might zoom right past you. Literally. It’s driven by me for years. In fact, I’m just now starting to “get it.”
Let me back up.
A few years ago I read where John Maxwell wrote something like, “If you want to go fast, go alone… if you want to go far, go with a team.” (I’m not sure which book I read it in- he’s written something like 70-plus books and is still cranking out fresh content each day- but this quote is definitely his.)
The problem for me… is that I want to go fast. Sometimes, it’s because I only have a limited amount of time to get things done (we’ve got a huge family, so not a lot of wiggle room in the schedule). Other times it because I don’t want to endlessly discuss something that we’re going to decide to do anyway (I hated those group projects we got assigned in college classes, for this reason- can’t we just make a decision and get on with it!?). More often that not, I’ve got a checklist of things to do and I just want to move to the next thing.
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins likens organizations to buses. He says the problem with most businesses is that they spend way too much time trying to discuss the “look” of the bus and the “destination” of the bus (read: the mission and vision statements), while paying very little attention to the people on the bus.
By “the people on the bus” he means the people working in the organization.
That is, it’s easy for managers and CEOs- gifted leaders– to tinker and talk about their organization but forget that the most important part is the people leading with them. They think that a better-looking bus (or a more logically explained bus necessarily goes faster).
Now, I don’t know of any CEO, pastor, owner, coach, or other leader who would say that people aren’t the most important thing. Nor do I know any who would admit to ignoring the people on their bus. In fact, most would adamantly swear they do the opposite- that they go overboard to bless the people.
But what would the people say?
And are those even the right people to be on that bus?
Like it or not, the people on your bus are helping you steer that bus, somehow. You’re either ignoring them (guilty- done it, have the t-shirt), so they’re steering you off course (or they could be holding the course- and you’re steering them off!). You could be pulling “dead weight” along; they don’t know where to pull- because although you think you’ve articulated the vision, you haven’t (just because you understand it doesn’t mean they do, nor or they dumb if they don’t).
I worked for an organization once where people literally “sat down on the job.” They just pushed through each day, doing the minimal amount to get by. It’s not that they didn’t love the leader- or adore the organization (read: the bus). They had a tender place for both.
However, the leader routinely assigned tasks… then, once they were complete, the leader changed directions. No one knew what to do. And they were tired of over-creating only for their creativity and incredible work to be thrown the storage closet in the back of the bus. So, they chose paralysis.
The leader couldn’t understand it. I did. It’s like I had a front row seat to some of the stuff I’ve done before.
The truth is that some of those people needed to be on that bus. They were people who could push the dream forward- people who can drive the organization to its intended destination. They just needed better communication from the leader. They needed the gift of presence.
Some of the people needed to disembark a long time ago. They were never going to move forward. Ever. In fact, they were going to do everything they could to mitigate against progress. They were afraid of it.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others. If you want to go far to the right destination, better make sure it’s the right people…
You might also like:
- The Ladder- recording of Advance 6.0- https://www.overflowfaith.com/p/the-ladder