Over Promising Is Easy When You Have A Servant’s Heart

 

But It’s Not A Good Business Plan

 

At the risk of sounding like (or writing like) a broken record I want to discuss the big issue of promising to do more than we can. I have written about this on several occasions focusing on different aspects of this struggle.

Five Ways to Stop Over Promising and Under Delivering

How to Create Realistic Expectations for Customers – Part 1

Honesty Is the Best Policy – I Don’t Care How Hard It Is 


I may be overly optimistic, but in my experiences most of the professionals that I work with and/or associate with are driven by a selfless desire to help others. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t selfish people out there, but I believe they are the minority.

 


The problem arises when overly zealous unachievable statements are made and then not followed through.


Much of the time the over promising is encouraged by the person receiving the promise. I know when given an answer that wasn’t what they wanted; customers have pushed me into saying things that I knew weren’t possible. I let them do this because I wanted to help them realize their dream.
I have done the same thing to my suppliers and subcontractors. When trying to achieve a schedule, I urged them to give me answers that both them and I knew they couldn’t meet. This isn’t right or fair to anyone involved.


I have been dealing with this ‘over promising’ issue a lot lately. It was echoed this past week when I listened to a Michael Hyatt podcast about “How to Delegate Even If You Don’t Have a Team”. It encouraged me to not give up on shoveling this particular mountain.


How do we solve this problem?


First thing is to figure out what works best for you. This may be the hardest part…I know it is for me. Not every idea or plan is going to fit your needs. We are all different and this means our systems will be too. I’ve tried different things and give up when they don’t work immediately. The most important thing is to persist.


Prioritize your to do list – This is probably the hardest thing for someone with a servant’s heart. Everything on the list is given ultimate importance and this is where the problem starts. There simply isn’t enough time to do everything. So how do we prioritize the list. Michael refers to the Eisenhower Matrix in the podcast. Like any system, it’s a good way to organize tasks, but only if you use it.


Delegate – Sharing the shovels needed to move any mountain is a good plan as long as you have someone to share them with. Delegating is a part of the productivity plan in the Eisenhower Matrix. There are a lot of unconventional ways that delegating can be done. Thinking outside the box is a great plan, you just can’t stop at the thinking, there has to be some doing. Michael shares ideas for this in his podcast as well.


Say NO – This is probably the hardest thing to do with a servant’s heart. We want to help everybody. The problem is there simply isn’t enough time to help everybody. Saying no is the only way we can do our best work, it’s the only way to serve well. The Lysa TerKeurst book, “The Best Yes”, is a great resource for helping to prioritize which things we say yes to and why. Most servants don’t want to tell others no but wouldn’t that be better than to give them an over promised yes.

 


When we attempt to help everybody, we really don’t do a good job of helping anybody.

 

We can have the best intentions when we say yes, but “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Unaccomplished good intentions are not the best way for us to truly serve others well.

The Need for A Production Coordinator

And the Difficult Process of Finding One

This process is difficult because I’ve UN-intentionally made it this way. I’ve discussed this problem in a couple of previous posts; Delegating – The Thing I Suck at Most of All and Sharing the Shovels. I know that if I’m going to ever reach the full level of my intended purpose, I’m going to need help. I can’t do it all by myself.

If my purpose is to help more people find better solutions, then I need a team.

So, if I’m responsible for this situation, then it’s up to me to do something about it. Because I dread the process of finding help, I’ve historically taken the path of least resistance. Find someone willing to say yes and put them to work. This path seems okay in the beginning…later not so much. It’s like cutting corners in anything, the short-term gain is not worth the long-term cost.

I realized that I wouldn’t accept mediocrity in construction, so why would it be okay in building a team.

Our production schedule at Timber Creek Construction is increasing and this means the need for help is too. Working through this difficult process in my mind, I realized I needed to spend some time up front determining specifics of the position prior to filling it. When building anything it’s best to have a clear plan before the construction starts.

What is it exactly that I need this person to do? Are they going to manage, supervise or coordinate? Maybe they’ll just assist. Then there are individual construction projects or the overall production process. There are small, yet significant differences in these things. I need to be clear on what the best plan is.

After a lot of consideration, I determined that a PRODUCTION COORDINATOR is what is currently needed.

What exactly is a production coordinator you ask?

For Timber Creek Construction, a production coordinator is –

A person who will organize and oversee the production and operation of multiple construction projects in order to maintain production schedules, complete projects within budget and achieve the quality of workmanship expected.

This person will need to have these skills and abilities:

  • Sufficient construction knowledge and experience
  • Computer skills including Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.) and Microsoft OneNote
  • Written Communication
  • Verbal Communication
  • Reporting
  • Organization
  • Analyzing Information
  • Professionalism
  • Problem Solving
  • Supply Management
  • Inventory Control
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Reliable vehicle

Compensation for this position will be based upon a percentage of projects being coordinated including some mileage when using their own vehicle. It is a self-employed independent contractor position.

Now if I can just find the right person for this position.

Timber Creek Construction is actively looking for someone to fill this position now. Currently it will be part time with flexible hours and days, potentially becoming full time.

If you or someone you know is interested in helping our customers build their dreams, contact us in the comments below.

“I Have A Dream” For A Team

And I Want It to Be A “Dream Team”

It’s interesting how sometimes when we experience things, i.e. a word, a topic or a message, it seems that the same thing will show up multiple times, in multiple places within a short period of time. Some people would say this is just a coincidence. I believe that when this occurs it is God trying to get our attention and give us some building blocks of wisdom for building our dreams.

This past week I experienced a delivery of building blocks of wisdom.

I have been spending time thinking through the pros and cons of delegating. As I have written about before, delegating is something that I suck at. I know that if I want to reach my full potential, I need to share the load. Once again, I was trying to tell myself otherwise, but God had a delivery of blocks for me.

The first shipment came while reading Nick Vujicic’s book, Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life. In the book he was talking about the importance of needing help and how we can all build a “Dream Team”. This immediately took me back to the 1992 US men’s Olympic basket ball team.

I connected it to delegating and the business team that I need to build. My very own “dream team”. A team of talented superstars that share my vision for the future of the company. Finding the right players is critical to building the dream.

The next load came during Michael Hyatt’s podcast, “Leadership Lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.”. Once again dreaming and leading with a vision surfaced as they spoke about his famous “I Have a Dream Speech”. King had a vision for the future, and he took action toward making that dream a reality.

Then a third and fourth load both came on different days but through the same delivery service. The Bible App on my computer delivers a Scripture of the Day, every day. On Wednesday it was Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.” Today’s Scripture was Galatians 6:2, “By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ.” These sound a lot like building a team don’t they.

Too often we lose sight of our dreams and give up on them. We fall into a routine of just good enough and give up on our dreams. We should never be satisfied with mediocrity. It takes hard work and time to build a dream. If we are going to be all that God intends for us to be, we must keep pushing forward, even when we don’t feel like it. This is another benefit of a team.

There was a point in my life where I became worn down and gave up on the dreams I had when I was younger, and they were some pretty big ones. Sometimes when we ignore the building blocks God’s is delivering, He will resort to more drastic measures to make sure we get His message.

We can choose to continue working on building our dreams or not. It is up to us.

After having these blocks delivered, I decided to move forward building the “dream team” and this week added a new superstar. I’m excited to have Cathleen join the team and am looking forward to her help building a dream business.

Because I have a DREAM TEAM DREAM!

The First Next Thing to Building A Better Business

 

 

Action Is Required for Building Anything

 

It doesn’t matter if we are building a home, a business or a life…they all require physical action. Planning is critical but not enough.

At a lunch meeting with my financial assistant (my sister) earlier this week we were discussing what is needed to move closer to achieving the company’s goals. This conversation confirmed what I already knew. By nature, I am a planner, a dreamer and a recovering perfectionist. I have lots of ideas and plans, all great ones too, no doubt. 😊 But it takes more than just plans.

The necessary thing needed to build the business, just like a building, is action. You can’t live in a blueprint. The same is true for a business. You have to move beyond planning. You have to do the first next thing.

When doing a construction project, I understand the order of the process – to start, proceed and finish. I asked myself why the physical construction comes naturally but I struggle with building a business. I have come up with a few reasons for this:

  • It’s hard for me to delegate – I know that I suck at it. People who know me know that I suck at it. This leaves me with two options; do everything myself and do less or share the shovels. I listened to a Story Brand podcast a few days ago that pointed out that successful entrepreneurs don’t try to do everything by themselves.

  • I have a broken people meter – I was thinking about the discussion with my sister and came to the realization that part of the delegation problem is that my people meter is broke or maybe I just don’t have one. So, I need to incorporate the help of people who have good people meters into the process of finding the right people to delegate to.

 

  • My “to do list” is too long and I like lists – When the list of things that need to be done is too long we become overwhelmed. Being pulled in so many different directions leads to confusion and causes a lack of clarity. Trying to spin too many plates doesn’t move things forward it just makes us dizzy. Trying to do too many things causes chaos. I don’t have the time to do everything on my list. We need a plan for this but if things are going to change there needs to be some action.
 
  • Recovering perfectionist – Finding the separation between perfection and excellence is tricky. This is a very fine line. Having been a perfectionist for years it is difficult to not cross back into perfection. Perfection causes inaction. It slows down all the processes and makes it difficult to leave the planning and start the doing.

 

Moving forward with the first next step I must narrowly clarify excellent delegation.

 

Just like I can’t drive more than one nail at a time when doing physical construction, the same is true when building a business or a life. If I don’t quit trying to perfect the plans and start swinging the hammer I will never get anything built.

Delegating – The Thing I Suck at Most of All

And What I Need to Do to Get Better at It

 

Okay, today’s confession. I really am not good at delegating. This is something that I have always struggled with. Even though I know that I need to…I don’t. I try. I come up with new ideas and plans and nothing seems to work. I just suck at delegating.

As much as I see and hear about this and was able to find on the internet, it is evident that I’m not the only person with this issue. So, the question is, what am I going to do about it?

I have been searching to see if I can figure out what I’m doing wrong. The conclusion that I’ve reached is that I expect excellence from myself, so subsequently I expect it from everyone else. I don’t think this is asking too much from people who are doing work that I am responsible for. The problem is that I assume everyone already knows what that level of quality looks like without any explanation or training. While visiting with one of my sub-contractors recently and he thought that it was expecting too much for other people to perform at that level. I don’t believe that.

I do believe that even though I may not have been born with the delegating gene, I can still acquire it. I need a delegation transfusion. To get better I must learn more, practice more and do more.

 

The importance of delegation is supported biblically and by professional leaders. It’s just common-sense that a team of people can do more than one person. My understanding of the need for delegation is nothing new. I know that for me to achieve the things that I’ve been put here for, I’m going to need help. The key to delegating is in the leadership. I need to be a better leader.

 

There are a lot of things that I need to do to be a better delegator, but starting out I’m going to focus on these things:

  • Explanation – to everybody that I give responsibility to. This includes assistants, coordinators, managers, contract labor, sub-contractors, suppliers, associates, anybody that I expect to do anything. This needs to involve big picture overview clear down to the smallest detail. If I’m going to expect excellence I need to explain what that looks like. This doesn’t mean that my way of doing it is the only way. It just means that the expectations need to be set and explained clearly.
  • Hiring – the right people for the right positions. This is one of those things that to be done right takes some intentional planning and will be an extensive, time consuming process. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that it’s just quicker if I do it myself. This is a very short-sighted attitude and one that I have used too much. When I’m busily trying to get everything done I fall into this narrow-minded trap. A good example of hiring is found at Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeaders’ Best Hiring Practices.
  • Training – the process of asking and answering questions. I’ve never been a great teacher. Not only is this bad for long-term plans, it isn’t fair to those people whom I’ve delegated to. One of the things that I came across while researching delegating was the benefit to those being trained. The possibility to grow and expand. It occurred to me that this is an opportunity for me to serve them.

Being overwhelmed is a common and self-inflicted state of existence. Trying to keep all those plates spinning can make us dizzy.

 

Share your best or worst delegating examples or delegating questions in the comment section below.

Sharing the Shovels

Moving the Mountain One Shovel at A Time

 

One of the most difficult things that I struggle with is delegating. By nature, I try to do everything. It is my business and serving my customers is my responsibility after all. This can only work if I limit what I’m going to do. I can’t use more than one shovel at a time.

The last several years I have been working hard to figure out who exactly God has designed me to be. What are my strengths and what are my weaknesses. As I have worked through this process I have reached the conclusion that God’s intended purpose for me is helping as many people as possible find solutions for building their dreams, even when they may not know they’re looking for them.

There is a limit to how many people I can help by myself though. In Exodus 18:13-26 Moses was trying to solve all the issues of all the people. There were so many people that needed help and he couldn’t help them all. His father-in-law saw this and recommended that he share the load and put his energy and focus on what God had designed him to do…not everything. If I am going to help more people and help them well I must share my load, just like Moses.

One of the problems of delegation is that too often sharing of the load is done without much clarity or planning. Positions are just filled with the first warm body that comes along and says yes. Rather than helping to carry the load, this often just makes it heavier. If you have ever had this experience, it makes it that much harder to share the load the next time.

There are some towering mountains on the horizon that need moved. As I move forward into this new year I am going to pass out some shovels. I am going to be careful and intentional about who gets what shovel. I need to make sure that the shovel and the person using it are a match.

One of the mountains that needs moved is delegating. Just this week I passed out a couple of shovels. Even if it is not natural for me, it felt good. We are going to move big mountains this year.