Monday, November 09, 2009
Throw out the Manual or Marry it
its been over a week and i'm still chewing on a conversation i had with mathew deblanc. in the context of formalizing ministry responsibility he said, "throw out the manual or you marry it." i was intrigued.
honestly, i've spent hours and days banging out the perfect manual; full of procedures, flow charts, org charts and wanna be attorney speak. i cringed as i wrote but i was sure the end result would be worth it. not sure that it was. sure, i felt good about finishing a challenging task but that logic could applied to moving a mound of manure too. i also felt good about the fact that i could stick a manual in someones hand, basically abdicate my responsibility and if anything went wrong (although, according the manual, it shouldn't), i could fix the problem and ask if the culprit followed the proceeder in the manual. Wait, are we still talking about manure?
ok, so maybe i need to cut back on the legal jargon in my instructions, trainings and emails (or probably anything i write) but can i just cut back and not throw it all away? i guess cutting is a start but the result i want to achieve from throwing out all the wasted words is RELATIONSHIP. it is much easier to write than train, to press send than to have a conversation over coffee. some think that cell phones are impersonal but even a brief conversation is better than an email or way better than a text message.
There is wisdom in throwing out the manual but i'm curious about what other manuals are being written.
* The one for the interns - if i don't have time for all direct reports, i need to reconsider my priorities.
* The one for the staff - i shouldn't assume that paycheck = teamwork.
* The one for my wife - just because i communicated my love for you yesterday doesn't mean i shouldn't reconfirm it today.
* The one for my kids - provision, sacrifice, good intentions and personal exhaustion all pale in comparison to reading a book to a wide eye impressionable ball of potential.
so trade people for paper any day, anytime and all the time. exchange time for typing and relationship for regurgitation.