You can’t do everything. You just can’t….and you know that. I know that. So why do we all struggle to let go of what isn’t working?
I think we get comfortable in our routines. We like repetition. We like to know what’s coming.
However, you may not be very comfortable evaluating your routines.
It requires change.
It requires discomfort.
It requires boldness.
It requires us to be honest with ourselves.
But we all probably need to stop doing a few things.
And you will need to stop doing good things.
Yes…I did just write that.
Why You Need to Stop Doing Good Things
Often the “good” things we do are actually not the right things. The truth is that they are not as good as we might think.
While speaking with an executive pastor of a large multi-site church the other day, we were nearing the end of our phone call when something powerful happened. As we conversed, I was very impressed with his work. He is leading at a high level and accomplishing more than 90% of people in his position. But at this moment on our call something interesting happened.
I asked him who designed the church-wide leadership pipeline we were discussing. He stopped.
I said, “Hello? You still here?”
He said, “Yeah. What are you getting at?”
I said, “Who designed it? Not who made the decisions about content…But who designed the graphics, visual layout, etc?”
You see…I knew that there was a communications team of lay leaders at this church with incredible creative ability. They did things many professional designers can’t do. They produce some of the most polished materials each week that I’ve ever seen.
As they do so, their Communications Director at the church helps to ensure alignment across all departments. This staff member is fully capable of doing the designs or getting his staff to handle all major presentations, marketing materials, and other projects in the church.
But something in me had a hunch that this executive pastor had done all the design work himself. I wondered why he was doing things other people would enjoy and were potentially more qualified to accomplish.
The executive pastor responded saying, “I decided to do the design and layout, since I’ve been so involved in the strategic planning process and leadership pipeline development. Plus I’ve done quite a bit of design work and find it fun.”
I pushed him further, “Who else could have done that?”
Realizing where I was heading with this, he said, “I get you. I should have delegated the designs and layout to our communications team rather than doing it myself. And the truth is that I spent more time on it than I should have.”
I was impressed. Many leaders would defend why they did it and try to justify the decision. This executive pastor demonstrated why he does what he does.
He isn’t perfect. He doesn’t know it all. He doesn’t get it right all the time. But when asked a sometimes painful coaching question, he responded by taking responsibility and defining how he will approach things differently next time.
What about you? What things have you done recently or do you do regularly that you shouldn’t?
The executive pastor in the story above didn’t do anything negative. He didn’t hurt anyone. He did some very good things.
The problem wasn’t whether his actions were sinister or malicious. They weren’t. The problem was that his actions weren’t the most important thing he could be doing. His actions blocked someone else from using their gifts. His actions blocked him from spending his time on things only he could do.
Here’s why it matters… You are just like him, and I am just like him.
You need to stop doing good things.
I need to stop doing good things.
We all need to assess regularly.
We all need to question our routines.
We all need to refocus on what matters most.
We all need to stop doing good things.
We need to do the right things.
I need to do the right things.
You need to do the right things.
Stop and evaluate what things you are doing that need to be delegated, stopped, or changed.
Then, let go of them.
Define what things matter the most.
Do those things…and do them now.
But don’t get comfortable with them, because they may not always be the most important.
One day they might become good things…good things that you will need to stop doing.
Decide today, what good thing you need to stop for the week ahead. See how it changes your productivity, your efficiency, and your overall impact on a daily basis. Then, let me know how it goes.
This post is part of a series on 10 powerful coaching questions every leader needs to ask. Take a look at one of the other 9 questions as you plan for either your growth or helping develop other leaders.