Lessons from the Farm: Training With A Purpose

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So, I decided to do a theme for the first time. I’m going to call these next few posts “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the first post here.

Just a little background: I grew up working on my Dad’s farm. As I’ve grown older and spent more time away, there are few leadership principles I have realized along the way.

One thing I find intriguing is the equipping of workers that happens on the farm. My dad taught me how to drive a tractor at an early age. Why? Because it was more efficient to have two tractors going than one. We could ride together, and we did when I was very young, but there came a time where the next step was for me to learn how to drive.

I hope this doesn’t sound cold and calculated, but it’s true. When I moved back and spent a few years farming, we would bring new people in to work and they needed to be able to do things on their own.

You never saw my dad running alongside a tractor shouting instructions. Instead, he would equip and let go. There were times where his knowledge was needed to troubleshoot problems, and often the work might have been a little messier than if he had done it himself, but a farm cannot operate efficiently with a micromanager.

Just like on the farm, we need to find ways to equip people and let go. This looks different in every situation, but the principle is always there. When we let go, things will likely get messy or not be done the way we would do them, but an organization cannot operate efficiently with a micromanager.

Who do you need to equip and let go today?

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Trust the Process, A Follow-Up

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Okay, let me clarify a little from Tuesday’s post, especially for my friend at Red Phog (follow him on Twitter here).

With any process, there is one major variable to keep in mind: context matters.

Context is everything, especially in leadership. As we lead people, we understand that no two people are the same, and that everyone responds in a unique way.

I have served at five different churches over my time in ministry. No body of believers is the same. My roles at each church have varied based on the needs of the church.

What worked at one place may not work at another because you’re dealing with a new set of people, a new cultural context, and a new set of experiences.

For example, at my current church we take a short service trip over Spring Break and it is very well attended. At my last church, the majority of families traveled over spring break, so the same trip would not have worked as well.

Context matters. Be careful to blindly institute a process without first understanding the context in which you’re serving.

But sometimes, with experience and evaluation of the situation, it’s okay to trust the process.

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The Horizon of Possibility

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This week is being spent writing a little more about the “3 Questions”. I’ve taken one at a time and will finish with the 3rd today.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

(Click herehere and here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Leaders have an ability to see the “horizon of possibility”

The Horizon of Possibility sounds like an awesome title for a fiction novel about an astronaut who gets stranded on the moon, but the concept is much simpler. Leaders can look ahead and see all the things that could happen, and they lead others to help make sure the best option does happen.

Asking the third question has a few hurdles, but first dream what could happen if you embraced the horizon of possibility. Imagine looking at a situation, seeing the options, and then leading a group of people to pursue one option.

As we include others, we are simply inviting them to look at the horizon with us. There will be times where you bring other people to the table and let them help decide how to move forward.

I enjoy bringing other people into the planning process on things. Each year at my church we take a short Spring Break trip. We have done it for 4 years. The first two years we stayed in town and did work projects around town. The last two years we have gone to our associational campground and done work projects around their campus.

This year, as I started planning the trip, I was able to bring another person into the decision making process. We fed off of each other, weighed pros and cons of different options, and ultimately made a decision.

We took the time to examine the Horizon of Possibilities and chose to move forward in a unified manner.

Leadership does not have a secret sauce. Some people are more naturally gifted leaders, and some people struggle with the concept from the beginning.

Struggle, when embraced fully, paves the way for confidence. Learning how to lead, for people gifted with leadership and those who are not gifted with leadership, is all part of the journey.

What situation are you facing today that may benefit from you stepping back and evaluating the Horizon of Possibility?

Who can you bring into the discussion and help them examine the horizon?

Remember, the goal of the 3 Questions is forward movement–movement with a purpose. How can you leverage the Horizon of Possibility to include someone in the work you’re doing already? Are you willing to take the necessary steps?


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