Thursday, December 01, 2011

Don't Start Anything

I work best in the worlds of vision and delivery. I am not so hot at strategy. If vision is about destination - where are we going? - then strategy is about the steps to take to get there.

It follows that vision is more about leadership than management and vice-versa for strategy.

After two and a half days of retreat, and now a free day before returning to Advent earth, I have a single thought pinned down. I am fed up of starting things. I've spent all my ministry starting things. I've set things up. I've seen things that were not being done and I've made them happen. I have begun.

But I have lost the knack of being able to infect people with the passion for whatever it is I start and thus hand on the started thing to someone who will run with it, polish it and make it great, perhaps using me as occasional consultant if things get stuck.

I am currently doing too many things I started. And this makes me spend too much time keeping those things going when I really want/ought to be starting something else. I hear a Michael Jackson song on constant repetition. And yes I do '...wanna be starting something.'

The danger, with people such as me, is that we walk away from the things we have started because of the call of things as yet unbegun. I am determined not to succumb to this but it helps me understand the niggly level of frustration I currently experience all the time. Keep too many live things in a bag and one day the fight will break out.

It is good for me to take on one or two jobs in any post which require discipline and stickability. I do this in a couple of ways. It reminds me that everyone has to do a certain amount of the less pleasant jobs.

I've started two new things this term but I didn't stop anything in order to do them. I merely postponed. Both have gone well first time and are heading towards that difficult second album in a term when all the other things I've started here, bar two (which stopped because they didn't work), need to carry on.

If you hear me talk about pioneering anything for the next few months tell me to stop starting. At the moment, like a dodgy set of jump leads, I'm not starting anything.


Anonymous said...

If giving occassional input and direction, but largely leaving people to get on with it still counts as handing things on, I can think of a couple of things you've sent this way. Pauline

St said...

Ah but that is me trying to get rid of things someone else started. Thanks for helping.

Anonymous said...

Some people are much better at starting things than running them, but I am a runner of things rather than an innovator. This is why we need teams working together.

The problem behind not feeling like starting anything new can be the issue of being too busy already! In order to start more, some unpopular decisions need to be made about what needs to stop first. This inevitably leave a gap, and can upset people. They may not be the same people who would benefit from the "new" thing. As a result the impetus needed to get through the upsetting people stage can be too costly. Perhaps this is why young people can seem rather brash and insensitive - they don't care so much what they trample on. In the case of my children, this is a newly washed floor.
Not sure this helps much. Perhaps you need a holiday rather than a retreat!