One Sentence Goal

imagesIn January many people kick off the goals they dreamt up towards the end of the year.  I’ve used many goal setting techniques over the years, from creating a list, to focusing on a word for the year and many things in between.  After 20+ years of setting goals what I’ve realized is if you can’t boil them down to a single sentence then you risk not being clear, losing focus and not remembering what you are really trying to achieve.  It’s an elevator sentence for your goals – if your boss were in an elevator and asked what you are trying to accomplish this year, what would you say?  If you teenage son asks you what you are trying to accomplish this year, what would you tell him?

Teams will follow you into an uncertain future with a clear message, but will rarely follow an uncertain message into anywhere worth going.

Boil your annual goals or project goals into a single and impactful sentence that has specific details within it.




Marketplace to Ministry: You’re Still Relevant!

staying_relevantWhen I transitioned to full-time ministry one concern I considered related to “staying relevant” outside of ministry.  I still have a desire to connect with people who were still in the marketplace and to share and learn from them.  Right before my transition I had more than a few folks caution me that a move to ministry would be career suicide and that I would struggle to stay relevant.  Now that I’ve made the transition and have been exposed to the reality of “relevancy” I thought I would share a few insights.

To be completely honest, after you leave your relevancy to your previous organization diminishes exponentially.  Slow at first, but over time, it ramps down quite quickly.  While I can still relate to the big things and directionally what is going on, with each passing decision you will lose the context for those decisions and therefore, your ability to properly relate with accuracy.  When you move out of the marketplace you just cannot keep up with the pace of activity in your old industry – no surprise there.  While I still read the industry trade magazines and have written for a blog or two in Healthcare, I still realize with each passing month or year my ability to quickly jump back in the saddle lessens.

Knowing my relevance would diminish I had to wrestle with HOW I was going to be relevant.  Who did I want to be relevant to?  I think, when I took an honest review of what I was concerned about, the real question I was struggling with was “will I be able to  relate to others outside of ministry in ways that would be beneficial since I won’t be working a ‘normal job’ “?  Sounds like a crazy question, but I’m guessing others who are considering making the jump might consider the same question.

I recently had an experience where I was meeting with a few gentlemen and they were sharing the struggles of their days at work.  As the conversation went around the table and got to me, it was a little awkward because the majority of the issues I now deal with can’t be shared as they are private.  I also don’t have the “normal struggles” I did in the marketplace because in ministry the work is incredibly rewarding.   While initially I found my fear of irrelevancy welling up, what I recognized is that  my previous management experience, tied with a biblical worldview allowed for an extremely rich and vibrant discussion.

While I may not be able to relate exactly the way I could have in the past, transitioning into ministry allows me a remarkable way to relate in my previous marketplace experience while adding a beneficial ministry perspective.  I couldn’t image a better combination!  On this side of my decision to move to full time ministry, I can see I’m still relevant.

Touch It Once – A Productivity Must!

the-“touch-it-once”-philosophy-for-improving-productivityYou have a finite amount of time each day and reworking or reprocessing the same thing more than once is a HUGE time consumer.  To digest large amounts of work effectively a productivity principle of “touch it once” is a must.  This principle  is something I’ve used for years and I wanted to share how I use it in practical ways to ensure I don’t have to reprocess work.

  1. Do it NOW, if you can – While most “touch it once” practitioners tell you to do something immediately if it takes you less than 5 minutes to do it, and while I agree, this doesn’t always happen for me.  If I can’t do it now I write it down so I don’t lose it.
  2. Write that task down – losing or trying to remember a task that you’ve been given is probably the single biggest productivity problems and time wasters!  When you lose track of a task, when it comes back to you it generally is urgent and out of your control.  As long as you track it, you have control over it.
  3. Communicate with clarity – When you send an email or communicate something that needs to be done at a meeting CLEARLY state who is responsible, what the task is and when it is needed.  Without clear communication others will check in and try to get clarity later.  That means mentally reprocessing the meeting or email later.  Be clear NOW.
  4. Don’t hoard information – If you are a single source of information you invite countless interruption to getting work done.  Share information freely to enhance your own productivity.
  5. Delegate appropriately –  Assigning tasks to the wrong person (and you might be the wrong person yourself) will waste time.  Are you the right person to be doing that task?  Is there someone better suited to do it?  If you assign it to someone are they going to struggle because they don’t have the right information?