I have witnessed many transitions, both in corporate and in ministry, and noted that part of a successful transition is when the new person takes off from where the old person left from, instead of starting from scratch. When the new person starts from scratch simply because s/he did not bother to set aside his/her own “diskarte,” that new person throws away not preferences or processes, but the experiences of the other. And this pride is usually to the detriment of the organization.
Seeing these successful transitions combined with reinforcing factors like experiencing how a company gets ISO-certified, being part of a company who drove simplicity and sustainability in their processes and services, and also my work style (appreciating the process of putting order in chaos and breaking down the complex to simple), it became second nature to me to create process documentations and job aides for all of the roles I’ve been in and for most of the processes I’ve handled.
It has to be duplicable. If things don’t run simply because I suddenly can’t report for work, then I have not done my job well. Habakkuk 2:2 resonates well with me: write it down, make it plain, so that he may run who reads it. RUN. Not walk. Not start from scratch. Pick up from where I left off and RUN.
This sounds really good, right? And I’m writing this with all gusto and I can talk about this for hours! But let me cut this here and take a look at the same thing from another perspective.
As much as I can, I set the pace for people so that they don’t get overwhelmed, but I have come to realize that I can go overboard on this, with the growth of the people I lead at stake.
When there’s a ton of new things to do, I literally won’t have time to break and write things down every single time. I can’t always act like a funnel and keep things simple for the people I lead. Whether I like it or not, there will be times when things will overflow, and admittedly, being overprotective is counterproductive.
It’s like being a mom to Noah; I must not spoonfeed him for the rest of his life. Actually, I cannot. I am not always with him, and at some point he needs to learn to feed himself, and I need to let him do that. I need to give him that opportunity, and yes, I need to clean up after his mess as he learns. It will take more energy and time at first, but it’s surely worth it. It will feel slow at first, but the yield will come faster. At the end of this, I become a better mom, and he develops a skill he wouldn’t develop in any other way.
I look back and I realize that my greatest growth points were right after my greatest stretch points. I grew because I got stretched. Whether my leaders deliberately developed me or there were just so many things happening that I had to learn on the job (or a combination of both), ultimately God allowed the stretching so that I can grow.
I realize that seasons of stretching in the workplace is best shared with teammates. If I’m the only one who gets stretched, at the end of it I’m either burnt out, or I’m the only one who grows.
As a leader, I need to learn how to both look out for my people and at the same time allow them to be stretched. Like a mom, I am to be loving but not overprotective. By allowing their stretching, I allow their growing.