Leader: "Hey guys did you finish the way I wanted?"
Them: "Well, 'within reason'!"I get this from time to time. As a leader that is such a scary reaction phrase when assessing completion. As a worker/volunteer/intern who doesn't have a strong grasp of excellence, this creates a large gray area of unfulfilled duties, a sort of sick justification. The toughest project for a team leader is to produce the culture in which the hands have a degree or sense of self-responsibility, self-motivation. When they lack this it slowly forces the leader to micro-manage, which any good leader dreads and never wants to walk in that role, at least the good ones. There are some manager/leaders that thrive on the micro-management philosophies. Scary land.

'Within reason' could be defined as 'within the bounds of good sense or practicality'. However within bounds is still missing the mark. Later we can debunk the difference between perfection and excellence but for now lets tackle the issue of...
settling for mediocrity, which happens to be the lack of excellence. When 'within reason' is good enough then all of our hard work and efforts become wasted time. Now don't get me wrong, some progress could have been made, no doubt, but typically it leaves the work still to be done by someone else. This is basically the Pareto Principle, the law of the vital few. It is based off the principle of factor sparsity, basically 80% of consequences build from 20% of the causes, the vice versa is true. 80% of greatness is created by the 20%. This should help us in our future decision making in all aspects of life and ministry. It should be used by everyone of you reading this, the simple fact that you are taking time to read this implies your desire to grow as a leader or simply your boredom or infatuation of my character (that's a joke).
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If you would consider yourself any sort of leader and have any sense of intelligence the Pareto Principle should be part of your daily decisions making, if it isn't yet, then this should be the next immediate change in your life. It can multiply the efficiency of your work force or ministry team(s) and your own personal life in it's effectiveness individually or corporately. The value should not be ignored but leveraged for it's powers and abilities.

The value for you as a leader is that it works as a reminder for you to focus where your efforts where it has it's greatest return, the 20%. Of all the choices you make during your day, only 20% really matters, that does 1 of 2 things for me, makes me feel like I waste a lot of time, but as a pastor/leader/creative/etc it helps me to produce more energy to the GREAT choices that are made through the 20%. I must IDENTIFY then FOCUS then MOVE, process then repeat. Leaders/pastors/creatives, hear me... when the day begins, emails, txts, phone calls, stuff, begin IDENTIFY the 20%, FOCUS on the 20%, MOVE forward on the 20%. If something has to to be skipped, slipped, ignored or not get done by all means make sure it is not of the 20%.

Jesus modeled this greatly. He spent time with the 20% that would make the most changes in a world that was new to the thought of a Messiah that would not rule as others had expected in legal authority and power. The truth is his circle of 12 was probably much smaller than 20% of his regulars.

Some thoughts:
  • Have a win range. Have a look at how much win comes from each aspect of your business or ministry. Put your efforts into the 20% that give you 80% of your wins - repeatables.
  • Have a product of value. Take a look at the 80% of your success and what is the 20% that is creating it. Do you have a loss leader? - sellables. (Many pastors fear the word product, this can be saved for another post, but you have a product, quit fearing the simple obvious that is helping others be intentionally successful and causing you to sit back and make excuses for your lack of)
  • Team leaders. Take a look at your work force, your ministry team. How much profit comes from each leader. Reward, retain and pour into the 20% that are your top winners not your top 20% whiners, yeah I said it! - loveables. (These are your "disciples")
  • Have an affiliate program. Find the top 5-20% of those who support you, or give you 80% of your support/income. Support, encourage, affirm and reward your givers - supportables.
  • Advertisements. Where does your wins come from, what 20% is it that gets 80% of your word out? People, Internet, twitter, email, etc? Refine your winning processes then re-run them where you can capitalize on them - winnables.
Your biggest rational fear is those in your network, in your area where you are doing things 'within reason'. If you are a pastor admit it... admit that there is an underlying fear of competition. Then if they are tearing it up and making it work you get jealous and begin to explain how it is not of God and it's not going to succeed. The reason they are winning is because they are unreasonably focusing on their 20%. "Oh, but we don't have 20%." Bull, you do, but you are focusing all your efforts on making the 80% happy and pretty and making sure they are comfortable and have nothing to complain about. IS there a balance? SURE, everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. You are not benefiting because your focused efforts are in the wrong place.

It is always the unreasonable entity that establishes a new benchmark or new niche. They then get the opportunity to redefine success and redefine what 'within reason' means. It is also the 'within reason' entity that reestablishes the status quo of minimization and mediocrity!


As Seth Godin says,"I guess the only choice is to be unreasonable."

 


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