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.


Unknown said...

trading people for paper... i like that.

jeanne said...

wow rawdbee. good stuff.