Consider today’s blog “Part II” in “What I Learned about Life from My Basement!” In “Part I,” I discussed how my basement refinishing project reminded me of the principle of Sharpening the Saw.
Measure Twice, Cut Once in Home Improvements
Here in “Part II,” my basement work has caused me to reflect on the principle of Measure Twice, Cut Once. If you’ve done any home repairs or remodeling, or any woodworking, then you are familiar with this principle.
If you have a piece of lumber to cut to fit a certain space, you measure carefully—twice. Because, it is much better to measure twice and get it right, then to measure once, get it wrong, and have to cut a second piece of wood. Measuring twice saves time, material, and aggravation.
Measure Twice, Cut Once in Ministry Leadership
As I consult with various ministries, as I work on Boards of various companies, and as I reflect on my own leadership of various ministries now and over the years, this principle shows up—for good or for ill—all the time. It seems that in Christian ministry in particular, and with visionary leaders specifically, there is a tendency to measure once, cut twice.
That is, there seems to be an impatience to get things done, to keep things moving. This impatience then can lead to executive decisions that have never been “measured” via what I call “change management.”
Change management, as the label suggests, is the simple process of managing change (duh!). Early in my ministry leadership, being too young, too impatient, and not trained well enough in leadership dynamics, I assumed that managing change meant communicating that change was coming. Of course, this “communication” dropped the “co” off the word co-mmunication!
It was a monologue. “I want you to be prepared because change is coming.”
Well, as I consult with other ministry leaders today, I recognized that at least I was saying something, and at least I was giving a “heads up!” Some ministry leaders don’t even do that much.
However, when they do “communicate,” they assume, as I mistakenly used to, that one-way monologue is communication and equals change management. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Organizing the Organism
True management of change is true co-mmunication. It is true dialogue. A visionary leader gets an idea (and if he/she is a good visionary leader, that idea comes from interaction with his/her team to begin with), and then bounces that ideas off of others in the organization. For after all, the “organ” in organization means that ministry teams are people—living, breathing organisms. In fact, that’s another phrase I use when consulting with ministries: organize the organism.
When visionary leaders recognize that the ministry God called them to lead is a living organism, part of the Body of Christ, then those leaders can “chill.” They stop. They choose the patient route. They decide to measure twice, cut once. They take the extra time to do due diligence in dialogical communication.
Not only does this make good people sense, it makes good practical sense. How many times I have seen visionary leaders try to quickly force change rather than relationally manage change, only to have to spend scores of hours cleaning up the mess. The time spent measuring twice (change management through relational dialogue) is so much shorter than the time spent cutting twice (cleaning up the mess of poorly managed, non-relational change).
Boatloads, Battleship Loads, Sinking Ships, and One Crew in Christ
Ah. Basement projects. I learn so much from them.
Hopefully we can all learn from them.
Remember, in the basement, and when building up the foundation of any ministry, measure twice, cut once. If we spend boatloads of time dialoguing within the organization about change, then we won’t have to spend battleship-loads of time fixing the sinking organizational ship. Instead, we can sail together as one crew in Christ.