Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What gets measured and applauded is done again

Every organization has a culture, including churches. In healthy cultures people understand their roles, assume responsibility for fulfilling those roles, and are held accountable. These things do not happen in unhealthy cultures which is one of the reasons why they are unhealthy.

We've all been told that what we measure gets done, and this is true. An important aspect of setting goals is that the goals must be measurable. Otherwise, we won't know if we've accomplished the goal or not. It's also important to not wait until the end of the year to do the measuring. Regular times should be set aside to measure how much progress is being made on an individual goal. Failing to do that means that we reach the end of the year, find out we can't accomplish our goal, and there's no time to do anything about it.

While measurement is essential to achieving our roles, so is recognition. Too many leaders spend time looking for things that are wrong in their organizations. They want to fix problems to make their organization more effective. That's needed, but we must also spend time looking for the things people are doing right and recognizing that.

I've never met a person who did not like to be recognized for his or her accomplishments. Even the most humble of people want to know they are contributing to the success of the organization. While we should criticize in private, we need to recognize good things publicly.

Such recognition should be done in a timely manner as well. I know an individual who received an "Employee of the Month" award from her company. Unfortunately, she received the award five months after the date listed on the award. It might have meant a lot more to her if she had received it when she earned it.

Such public recognition is perhaps even more important in a church setting than in a business because we are working primarily with volunteers. They are giving their time to something which they believe is important, and they want to know their effort makes a difference.

When we measure what people are doing we are holding them accountable. We are also telling them that what they are doing matters. If it didn't matter we wouldn't measure it. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to challenged his audiences to become "Good Finders," people who went around looking for the positive and good in what people were doing. This is what we need to be doing in our churches and in all organizations. When we applaud people for the good things they are doing, they are likely to repeat that behavior, and that will make every organization stronger.

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