The Speed Of ‘Destruction’

I was just thinking about a visit I took to a city I love. As I looked at how the city had changed, I compared the images in the city to the ones that were lodged in my mind since I was last there. What I saw saddened me. The grass overgrown yet it used to be cut by the city‟s municipality / council.

More than half the traffic lights were not working and not much, if any, maintenance had been done to most buildings recently. Cars, even in the city center move in zigzag at a snails’ pace because of the potholes that have become common place on the roads.

The infrastructure seemed to be on a steady decline from neglect. To a greater extent the reason for the derelict sight  was due to economic chaos that has speedily destroyed the city. The heartrending images in this city demonstrated the regressive impact that neglect, in general, can breed.

There is an author I can’t remember, who referred to how neglect activates the “law of nature‟, whereby even the most beautiful garden, if neglected, will become a jungle. A lot of areas in our lives have the potential to fall apart when we do nothing to consciously maintain them.

For instance, when parents neglect spending quality time with their children, divides are created culminating in a breakdown in relationships and other manifestations of dysfunctions in the family.

Part of a definition of neglect by suggests giving little or no attention to something. Perhaps giving little or no attention to improving your skills in your career or work environment could put you in danger. Could it be possible then, that if we are not making any conscious effort or giving attention to improvement in whatever area, we step into the “neglect zone‟?

If so, this could mean that if we are not in any way improving, we are getting worse. As a thought: I don’t think we can accept that we could ever be at a stage of maintaining the status quo. It is either we are improving or getting worse.

Neglect is what I’d like to think as one of the major root causes of backsliding. It all starts with missing a day in a week without spending time with God. Then two days the following week. It may start by missing a Connect group meeting or church on to a point where it becomes routine and eventually one is classified as ‘backslidden’.

It may be not complimenting your spouse like you used to, culminating in diminished appreciation all round. Neglect could also take on the face of not responding to our friends plight for help like we used to.

The speed of ‘destruction’ is not as fast as we think. Nothing ever “just falls apart” suddenly. It is usually a gradual letting down of the guard. If we do not intentionally and constantly asses our teams, systems and lives we are actually working against ourselves.

When was the last time you really took sometime out and did an honest assessment or evaluation of your life, leadership, family, friendships? Based on how you have been expending your time and resources are your priorities still the same? Are you on course? Are there any areas where you are now slacking because it is no longer as easy as it used to be?

I’d like to challenge you to look out for areas of neglect that could have manifested themselves in the life or your family, organization or team. Even in your own personal life. Take note that even the things that seem small or insignificant could be serious. Lots of termites can destroy a large house!

Recognizing these things could save your relationship with your children, your marriage, career, connect group, department you serve in… After all, it is the small foxes that spoil the vine.

Getting Voicemail Right

I am not always available to answer my mobile phone. I’m either in a meeting or training session or driving and on rare occasions I forget switch the ringer back on and it just happens not to be in my pocket.

On those occasions I cannot give attention to a call, I’ve “asked” voicemail to take messages for me… Somehow, the “subconscious me” feels if someone can’t get a hold of me, leaving a voice message says, “it’s important we connect” etc.

Sometimes leaving a voicemail may be the only opportunity for you or the sender to communicate something urgent before they’re also unavailable. The point of leaving voice messages is to at least communicate something.

Continue reading “Getting Voicemail Right”

Successful Leaders Have A.D.D.

Leadership is multifaceted. There are many things that the leader needs to pay careful attention to. He has to put together many components to make up the bigger picture.

The leader is a ‘convergence point’ of sort. There is a lot of information that is often vying for his attention. And that leader’s success depends on how well he understands and interprets the implications.

Continue reading “Successful Leaders Have A.D.D.”

The Significance of Dates

There are numerous dates that bear significance in people’s lives, for instance, birthdays, wedding anniversaries etc. Dates allow us to ‘index’ experiences or moments we never want to forget. The simple date change from 31 December 2010 to 1 January 2011 is an example of the impact dates have on people. Because of a simple date change, some people made different promises to themselves e.g., “I will go to gym” or “I will spend time with my family” or “from this point I will spend my money more wisely“.

I think God also has a fair regard for dates. After all, He’s the one who created time! I think God started the ‘marking-dates trend’. After saving the nation of Israel from Egypt, He declared, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year” (Exodus 12:2). This was God’s message to Israel that they were no longer to be governed by the Egyptian calendar, but by God’s timing and agendas. When God saves us from something, He will always bring us to the newness of something better. So significant He ‘resets’ the date! God starts a new year in the middle of another! It’s a God idea to mark dates and celebrate them.

I think God also a ‘made a fuss’ about changing the date so that Israel would never forget what He did when He dealt those that oppressed her. This is a lesson for all of us; take note of God’s working in our lives and to create “memorials” as reminders of God’s goodness and faithfulness. As we go further into 2011 I’d like to encourage you to choose to take note of what God does. Celebrate it.

Also, remember that God is not restricted by time and can give you a “new year” anytime. Any day is good enough for God to reset the past and set you on course to the future He has for you. Choose to forget lay down the things that have held you back in the past, so you can reach for what lies ahead! In fact God wants to take care of your past so you can focus on the future (cf. Philippians 3:12-14; 4:8). Let this be the year you choose to take note of what God does in your life and celebrate Him!

A Different “Power Of One”

Emails and social media are a very inevitable part of our lives. As I was going through my emails this morning I realized something. Some of the emails I started by responding to were from people that I were looking to network with me and other people in making some things happen. I also realized that besides the team(s) I work with in the office to make things happen, I also work with larger teams out of the office to make some of the “in-office resolutions” happen. My contribution is important for the success of the teams I’m a part of.

Every puzzle piece is not as important as the puzzle itself, but the puzzle is incomplete without it.  My success is not solely dependent on my competence, attitude and hard work. I need to be able to function in the context of my team. Not only that, there are other teams, externally that I need to be able to relate to. Often times I have to “resource tap” from other team networks outside my immediate one. My ability to be a successful unifier across “networks” will be key. Numerous people do a lot of things right  Thus an important key to success is being a team player, in both internal and external contexts.

There are a couple of implications:

  • Paying attention to maintaining relationships and clear channels of communication is paramount. We need to be careful that we are carefully maintaining the “machine” i.e. team that helps make things happen. It is easy to be results and or goals driven at the expense of the team and the individuals that comprise it.
  • And, as an individual I need to ensure that I am fitting into the puzzle (team) as I should be and that I am facilitating others being able to do the same. It is easy to look at others and try to figure out what their role is in clogging, the ‘production line’ is and forget that I could be a significant part of the challenge. Your team’s success is also dependant on your ability to be honest with yourself and courage to own & address your part in the team’s failure.

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success – James E. Hunton

Your thoughts?