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February 9th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

13 comments (+ Add)

Results Verses Reality

To be increasingly effective as a person and leader, we must grow in our self-perception. Without knowing it, many people believe things about themselves that are simply not true.

One of my mentors says, “People are polite. Don’t believe everything good they say about you.”

Instead of simply listening to what people say (or what you believe), look at the outcomes of your efforts.

Here are a few examples:

  • If people tell you that you are a great leader; but you have extremely high turnover in your staff, maybe you’re not as great as you believe you are.
  • If you believe you are a great teacher, but few people sign up for your class; maybe your best gift isn’t really teaching.
  • If you think you are funny, but other people simply don’t get your humor; you should probably keep your day job.

In the early years, I believed that I was effective in communicating God’s principles of generosity. Even though I thought I was effective, our church didn’t seem to grow much, if any, in generosity. People would even say, “That was a good sermon on generosity.” But if we aren’t getting the desired results, it doesn’t matter what people say or what we believe.

Once I realized that I wasn’t as effective as I thought, I opened my heart to hear clearly from God. He showed me I wasn’t as generous as I believed I was. God changed me before He changed our church.

You may believe something to be true, but if you don’t see results, what you believe may not be true.

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there are a total of13
  1. Feb 9, 2010 at 8:50 am

    So a question - Do you continue to work on those areas or give up on those areas?

    I think I know my strengths and weakness pretty well but I still continue to work on those areas that I am not as strong in. I do not see it as a waste of time but is it?

  2. Feb 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Wow Craig! I’ve been thinking in something about this for weeks!
    I’ve been asking myself why is that the church wasn’t growing in sanctity, praying and bible reading, and I was ’suspecting’ that it was because I wasn’t growing in those issues either.
    Now I know for sure that God wants to change me before changing the whole church!
    Thanks! :)

  3. Feb 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

    You can only take a person to where you have gone. It’s kind of like when you give directions to a person. Giving directions to a place you have never been is impersonal and usually ineffective or even inaccurate. On the other hand, giving directions to a place you know well is full of specifics, understanding and experience.

    Reality comes into focus when we walk close to Him.

    Romans 12:3 NLT Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

  4. Feb 9, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Well, I think that we have to work hard with our strong areas but keep working in our weak ones so they don’t become weaker. We can ask for help in those weak areas and, when we’re marriage, I’ve discovered that much of our weak areas might be the strong ones of our spouses and vice-versa.
    It’s like exercising the body: We naturally have one arm stronger than the other, but it doesn’t mean we should only work that one.
    So, my advice would be this: Focus on your strengths but don’t let your weakness unwatched.
    :)

  5. Feb 9, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Craig great stuff!
    Jim…I believe I know what my own strengths and weaknesses are…And they are NOT what I thought they were five years ago. I continue to work in the areas that are weak…But I make sure that I don’t neglect the things that I am strong in so that they don’t diminish. I think chejoo made some excellent points here.

  6. Feb 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

    If I give my son $10 to buy me something at Walmart but he wants to work on his bartering skills instead and so he walks in there with a stack of baseball cards to trade, two things happen.
    1 - He’s highly ineffective in purchasing.
    2 - I am frustrated that he didn’t use the best option that I gave him.
    Continually trying to improve areas of weakness is good, but God gave us specific areas of strength and, I think, He expects us to use the best He gave us. Don’t neglect personal improvement, but recognize the wisdom in working out of your strength and allowing others to do what you don’t do so well (because it just might be their area of strength).

  7. Feb 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Jim,

    I would say that just because I am weak in an area doesn’t mean I can’t work to build it up or seek God to build into me. Working on that weak area may mean bringing people around you that are strong so that they handle that area. Or it may mean that in your area of greatest weakness God show’s himself strong by doing something incredible in your life. Either way it’s a huge win.

  8. Feb 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    The question of whether to continue to work on an area really depends upon what that area is. For example is the area is a weakness in letter writing, but you can hire an assistant that can do it much better in much less time then why work on it. Use the time you save with the assistant to be effective in your areas of strength.

    But if the area is a character matter or key to your ministry (generosity, patience, compassion, etc.) Then by all means it should be worked on, regardless of ones position.

    Of course that openness is critical again to determine what really is important.

  9. Feb 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I think John Maxwell’s leadership work sums it up the best: hire in your weakness and work in your strength. If you bring people on board that excel in your areas of fragility, then you can improve by watching their strength. They also compliment your weakness, and often end up making your leadership stronger. I believe that it is an oxymoron to ask your staff to give you an accurate evaluation. I think we have to look to accountability partners and those leaders we admire to speak into our lives to experience unthreatened honesty and paths to improved leadership.

  10. Feb 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    [...] Results Verses Reality [...]

  11. Feb 10, 2010 at 9:10 am

    It’s a fine line.

    I tweeted this the other day: God doesn’t use us DESPITE our limitations, but BECAUSE of and BY MEANS of them. 2 Cor. 9:12

    One of the core teachings in my own ministry is that Jesus himself, though fully God, was also fully man. And that meant being human in every aspect, including physical, intellectual and practical limits.

    And THAT meant he wasn’t allowed to cheat.

    He could only perform miracles if the Father himself chose to do them (see John 5).

    I struggle sometimes as I look at various high-performance leaders in the church when they give advice on leadership. There is real power in vulnerability, in letting people see that God can not only use you in spite of your limitations, but that he can actually leverage your weaknesses–your limitations–for his glory.

    While I agree that we need to be good stewards of our time and we need to give others the opportunity to succeed, we need to do it all in such a way that it isn’t WE who get the glory (or our genius), but God himself.

  12. Feb 11, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I can’t jump on board with this one, Craig. It’s not that what you’re saying is bad or even completely wrong. There are elements of wisdom here, but there are also elements of folly.

    Interestingly, you title this post results vs. reality, but from what I read, it would be better titled results are reality.

    The trouble is that you automatically assume the problem is with the leader. If the people don’t change or “get it” the way you think they should (a subjective judgment in itself), the problem is with you.

    But people didn’t get it all the time in Jesus’ ministry. Surely we wouldn’t say that this was due to some weakness of his.

    Worse still, it creates that same old (unbiblical) paradigm of success by measurable outcomes - it doesn’t matter whether it is how many people walk through the doors or how much money is in the offering plate, this is not a biblical way of thinking.

    Ultimately, what this comes down to, is the leader shouldering a burden that is not his/her to carry. There were many Biblical leaders who had a message to give and preach that was rejected. There were no positive results.

    If the leader leads in such a way to get results, his/her leadership soon turns to manipulation. The leader’s responsibility is not to get results…that’s God’s responsibility.