Here’s a Secret Super Power

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I think evaluation and forward progress may be my love language. If I can sit down with someone and evaluate something we’ve done together with the intent of making it better, then I’m able to live in my happy place.

But, if I’m going to be honest, as much as I love evaluation, it takes effort. Simple evaluation (i.e., self criticism) comes naturally, but true evaluation requires more brainpower and energy.

And I think this is true in leadership. if we want to grow, we need to learn to evaluate truthfully and effectively. But it’s a difficult habit to build and maintain.

So today, here are three reasons why I think evaluation is worth the effort:

  1. It makes the mistakes worth the cost. Have you ever done something perfectly the first time? No? Yeah, me either. If I fail to evaluate, the chances of me making the same mistake again are significantly higher. So doesn’t it make more sense to spend time evaluating and deciphering how to eliminate the mistake and replace it with something better? The best mistake launches us toward growth. Evaluation helps the transition.
  2. It helps me remember what we did. I have a terrible memory. In youth ministry, I pull off annual events, but so often they are separated out by 12 months. So when I sit down to plan the next one it’s been at least 9 months since I thought about (10 or 11 if we’re honest about my own planning process). So, when I write out an evaluation, it helps me remember why I made the decisions I made, it helps me remember the mistakes I made, and it helps me remember the great idea I had that would have been lost otherwise.
  3. It makes the event better the next time. This is the greatest benefit of evaluation for me. Whether it’s an annual event, or a regular weekly happening, my effort produces greater results when it’s paired with evaluation. I have an event coming up in March that we did for the first time last year. Because I spent time evaluating, when I start to take steps to plan based off the evaluation I did, I know the event will be even better.

Alright, so how do I evaluate? I work through three questions (but not the three questions you might think). They are simply this:

  • What We Did
  • What Worked
  • What to Do Differently

That’s it. Bullet points are my friend, and they will be yours too. Take 10 minutes today and evaluate something. It could be a project you just finished, an event that concluded recently, or fixing a Thanksgiving meal. Unleash the power of evaluation. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Iron Sharpens Iron

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On Tuesday morning I woke up, made coffee, blogged, and then drove three hours for a meeting. For someone who loves his schedule and routine as much as I do, spending half the day on the road was not the perfect use of my time.

But the trip was worth every adjustment I had to make.

Why? Because of the people with whom I got to meet.

I’m a firm believer that the people around us help shape us. Bold statement, right? I’m way out on a ledge with that one.

I place a high value on people who think through what they do. And that’s what I got to participate in Tuesday. Conversations with ministers who are thinking through what they are doing, and WHY they are doing it.

We were there to plan camp, but in all honesty, our summer camp was not the greatest benefactor of our time together. I was.

I love having people in my life who push me. I love having people in my life who challenge me. I love having people in my life who see things differently than I do. I find it invigorating.

That’s why I love the camp I go to each summer. I find myself growing as a leader during the planning process and through the relationships the leaders have away from camp.

But my question for you today is simply this: what peer relationships do you have that breathe life into you? Where do you go for differing perspectives on approaches to life and ministry? What voices are speaking into your life? Are you better because of it?

My hope is this blog is one of those voices. We may or may not actually know one another, but my desire is you will grow as leader as a result of your time reading these posts. I hope you develop a desire to develop leaders as I share about my own process along the way.

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