Who Sets the Target?

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When my girls were younger and in the “I don’t want to eat all of my food stage”, I would try to trick them. When they got to what they thought would be the end of their meal, I would say, “why don’t you take three more bites?”. From there, I would repeat the challenge until their food was gone. Eventually they caught on, but the effectiveness was surprising.

We had different targets. Their target was to finish eating as quick as possible and get back to playing. My target was their health.

As leaders, I don’t think we have to trick people into accomplishing a task, but I do think our role becomes one of setting the target, or inviting people into the conversation as we seek to set the target.

If we as leaders don’t at least help define what we’re aiming for, then the people we lead will decide instead. Letting someone else decide the target may not always be a bad thing, but you always run the risk that they will choose something that is actually the opposite of the progress of the ministry.

If our goal is to grow disciples, then having the best video games may not be the win.

If our goal is to impact our community, then having the cleanest space may not be the win.

If our goal is to lead people to worship, then having the best a/v system may not be the win.

But unless we take the time to communicate the target for which we’re aiming, we run the risk of wasted effort.

Andy Stanley talks about this as “Clarifying the Win” (you can listen to a conversation on this here, and it’s worth your time!).

At the end of the day, you have been placed in a leadership position for a reason. Take the necessary steps to make sure everyone you lead is on the same page and moving in the same direction. this happens most naturally by making sure you choose, clarify, and communicate the target at which you’re aiming.

What’s Your Focus?

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Have you ever set a goal and accomplished it?

I set a goal to finish 36 books in 2019, and I did. That came after setting a goal in 2018 to finish a number of books (I don’t remember how many), and not reaching it. Even the fact I don’t remember the number from 2018 but do remember the number in 2019 tells you something.

My focus shifted. I no longer wanted to just have a goal, I wanted to accomplish my goal.

So I made a spreadsheet at the beginning of 2019 and recorded the books I finished. Every time I finished one, I would add it to my last, and update my count at the bottom of the page. And something amazing happened. I met my goal.

It’s actually not that surprising that I met a goal as I was tracking it consistently. It makes sense to most of us. Why?

Because we move toward our focus.

Focus is the difference between setting a goal and achieving a goal.

And the same is true for developing student leaders. If we don’t have a focus to guide them towards, then how are we helping them grow? It’s the difference between some books and 36 books.

Spend some time today narrowing your focus. Decide what you want students to aim for, and how you can help them hit that target. Then, put the target out there and continually remind them it’s there.

Ultimately, if we want to develop student (and adult) leaders, focus is the key.

What’s one way to do that? Implement the three questions and continually ask how they’re answering them. Over time, they will start to see opportunities and meet them instinctually.

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