Expectations and results....
December 9 2009
One of the things that I do, in fact the main thing I do, is that I pastor a small Baptist church in Southeast Arkansas. Part of our weekly schedule is a prayer hour on Tuesday nights at 8. To get ready for that time yesterday, I went over and tinkered with a few thermostats before I went home.
When I got back at 8, it was colder in the building than outside. This isn't unusual, since the weather here in Monticello was a little strange yesterday, with lots of cold, then rain, then warm, and I thought the building just never warmed up. I had only set the thermostats to about 64, because it's a small group that meets, and those that come know to dress warmly!
Well, this morning I went over to make sure all of the thermostats were set for church tonight. I then noticed something that I missed last night. I had set all of temperatures to 64. Unfortunately, I had also turned one of the major units to “Cool” instead of heat. All that time, the unit had been trying to chill a room rather than warm it.
Fortunately for the electric bill, when the outside is in the 40s, it's not hard to chill a metal building into the 60s, but there's a lesson here. It's a lesson about efforts, expectations, and results. What do I mean?
Well, if we want to have results, we have to make sure our efforts are going in the right direction, and that our expectations are set to a logical level. How?
Sometimes our efforts are like the heat/air units yesterday: 3 separate units had the goal of a temperature of 64 degrees. 2 were trying to heat to it; 1 to cool to it. At times, they were working against each other. You can almost imagine the inner monologues: “It's getting warm again! I just cooled it off. Who's messing with my work?” “Just as soon as I get it warm some nut starts chilling it again. This isn't fair!” (Fortunately, inanimate objects don't think. I can't fathom that people would do that, can you? Well, maybe a little.)
The method of reaching a goal is more important than we realize. It was my expectation that 64 would be warm enough. It would have been, had there not been cold air blowing in to keep it at that temperature. The result was right, but the method used caused it to not meet expectations.
Do we watch the details? This was a mistake of about a half-inch on a switch. Little slips make bigger issues if we're not careful!
For those of us who lead others: are we careful to communicate the expected methods as well as results? This was my mistake, and is often a critical point for me in working with others. It's not just where you end up, but how you get there. I communicated I wanted a temperature. I didn't communicate that I wanted it warm.
It's often frustrating because I think I'm doing the best I can, but what I want to see happen isn't happening. I need to examine how often it's because the efforts are wasted because of a minor setting....