So there’s Ikea, minding their own business one day and someone discovers that a trace amount of horse meat is found in meatballs served at their cafe. I never knew Ikea even served food; do you have to assemble it yourself there at the cafe?
Ikea probably isn’t known for their food nor do they depend on it to have a thriving business model, after all they sell furniture. Yet a lack of transparency from one of their venders, who probably accounts for an immeasurably small line on the Ikea balance sheet, was found to have used horse meat in meatballs supplied to Ikea.
And in a flash Ikea has a PR fire to deal with.
Transparency is everything in our new, real time, communication world. Your organization simply does not have the resources or the power to control the message the way you once did in years past.
The only thing you can control about the message is how transparent you are and in that transparency you better have a good message because we can see right through you.
The old adage; sell for what the market will bear just doesn’t ring true anymore. No longer can you and your team scheme and strategize for how to game your ‘target’ into acting on your pitch. You have to have a real story that provides people with real value, because if word gets out you’re trying to slip one by, game over.
I’m speaking on freedom this week and I’ve gone down a couple of rabbit trails in my studies and I’ve come back full circle to an issue that I’ve always been passionate about; balancing your time.
Time management has become a joke in the United States. It has become a virtue to be completely red lined all the time. We fear taking a break and someone think we are slacking and not ‘carrying our weight’ at the office. We rush from one appointment to the next and we are sure to fill the time it takes to walk down the hall with a phone call to tell someone we’ll be late for that thing later on.
Sure busyness can come in seasons, I do my share of 90 hour workweeks every once in a while, but as a lifestyle? This needs to change.
“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”
I truly believe most people are overly busy because they are uncertain about what their value is in their job, their social circles or even their own family. Or maybe they are certain and they want something different so they are scrambling to find what ever that is.
When was the last time someone asked you to hang out tonight and you said yes… on the spot? If you are operating at capacity at all times then there is no way you can adapt to change in a meaningful way and without stress.
I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you this; I feel like I have plenty of time to react to the lives of those close to me and respond with presence instead of empty panic
Is your value at work your time or is it your talent? I’m not saying one is better than the other, it’s just how your pay scale is measured. If you work in manufacturing or some sort of production environment where you crank out widgets, then your value is time and it should be easy for you to switch off at the end of the day and be present. If, like me, you’re paid because of your talents, gifts and mind then it can be a little more difficult to turn off at the end of each day (or week). After all, I’m paid to be me and I can’t turn me off; my mind fires 24/7.
I’ve battled the sleepless nights and the half present dinners with my family and over the years I’ve learned how to separate my job from my life. I’ve not perfected anything, to be sure, but I have learned a few things along the way.
I would never call myself a morning person but I have found when it comes to the task oriented stuff that I need to do, like writing and replying to email, I find that I get it done best between the hours of 6AM and 10AM. I think my mind is at it’s freshest during this part of the day even though my body isn’t super excited about it. I prefer to go to a coffee shop for an espresso and breakfast rather than the office. I can get more medial tasks done in these 4 un-interrupted hours than I can in 8 hours in a busy office.
On a perfect day I’ll take ‘lunch’ after this block of work and get my workout in. I’ll go into the office at 12:00 where I’ll do all the office type stuff; meetings, phone calls, another block of email and random tasks.
When I’m not working, I stay out of the office so I can be present in the part of life that matters most; my family and friends. About a year and a half ago I stopped pushing email to my phone and I can say that it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for my life and marriage in terms of time management. When I share this with people I often hear a response like; “I could never do that” or “That sounds like a great idea but I’d get fired”. Would you get fired if you didn’t stand next to your physical mailbox at the office? EMAIL IS NOT A REAL TIME COMMUNICATION PLATFORM!!!! We have let it become so and it is single handedly tearing people’s lives apart. If someone needs to get a hold of me no, they can call. I also refrain from checking email when I’m off work and I certainly never send or reply to work email in off work hours even at times when I’m pulling a late nighter working on a project; which can come in seasons and even I can’t avoid it from time to time.
Assuming there is a bulk of your job that you like to do (if there isn’t, get a new job); there is likely things in your job that you don’t like or you’re not good at and don’t want to be. I like to assassinate these ‘medial’ tasks early in my week so I can finish strong doing what I’m good at and what I love to do. This is what Monday is for me. When I’m asked to get something done that is medial, I push it to Monday so I’m sure to stay in my wheelhouse the rest of the week. Monday is often one of my longer days in the 11-12 hour range, but it makes it so I can breath easy and get on with what I feel I’m good at and what is likely to give me life.
Busy begets Busy. Stay away from hyper-busy people. I’m referring to the social part of life; in work you have to do what you have to do to get things done. Not in your real life. I remember the first time I became aware of the concept of ‘play date’ earlier in our parenthood. My first thought was; “If I have to schedule time for play then you and I are likely not friends, our lives clearly do not intersect enough to be friends“. This doesn’t mean I don’t like you or don’t want to be your friend, we just don’t have enough in common either geographically, affinity or schedule wise. Don’t take it personal.
If you can’t develop life giving relationships naturally right outside your front door or in your every day life, you need to reconsider both what you do and where you live. Overly busy people are chasing after an existence that is different than the one they’re in so don’t get too attached to them, they’re on their way to the ‘bigger better deal’; or they just like being overly busy. More power to them.
Now go find rest and joy
What’s really important? You know the answer.
Where are the men of Issachar these days?
1 Chronicles 12:32 said that these were the people who were responsible for both understanding the times and knowing what to do.
Today, like most days, I came across an interesting story several times in my social stream. A Church is suing a woman who has posted negative reviews on several review sites about the church as well as start a blog sharing her story of discontent with how that church has handled some issues. Now, I don’t know the whole story here and I leave it up to the courts to figure that out but I can comment on the perception that the public now has of this church and the woman.
Clearly the church in question, and the leaders of it, just don’t get it. We live in a completely different culture now that new media has become pervasive. The problem is that most church leaders think culture is the same PLUS we have new media and that is where we are failing right now not just at Beaverton Grace Bible Church; whose biggest offense might be the over use of papyrus.
We cannot go about communicating and connecting with people, both inside and outside our churches, the same way we did EVEN 5 years ago. We have turned the corner and new media has gone from being a thing that was simply a new tool to something that has forever changed our culture right down to our very core of how we empathize with our fellow man.
Think new media first
Don’t do your normal vision and strategy thing and then look to new media as a secondary tool or channel. New media must be a part of your thinking from moment one just like it is part of culture continually. Better yet, use new media in real time to work through your strategy it will make your church that much more transparent.
Transparency is everything in new media space, and that just may be the scariest thing to baby boomer leaders who are used to having tightly controlled channels of communication and an audience at the ready. Millenials need you to be transparent because they don’t trust leaders, and for good reason. This means the conversation must continually be two way.
If you truly have a vibrant community at your church and they are connected in new media sharing stories, then the positive should out weigh the negative. In a new media world there is always going to be a negative review, especially for a church, but you have to rise above that and celebrate the beautiful stories in a public way. If your organization is truly toxic there will be know hiding it, I can’t help you there.
The sermon…it’s come quite far since Jesus stood on the ‘mount’ and delivered a timeless message. I believe the current format in which we execute a ‘sermon’ is fairly well broken. The job a pastor hires a sermon to perform in 2012 is the same as in 1912 or 1812 yet the sermon format is having less and less effect on culture. Jesus could more or less start a riot with an eight minute illustration yet the average pastor can’t get 100 people to change their behavior after 40 minutes of multi-media supported exposition.
Maybe 40 minutes isn’t long enough? Earlier this month my ‘sermon’ at Gateway Church was a week long! Let me break it down for you.