[Lack of] Speed Kills
Outstanding organizations are known for being fast. That does not mean they are “sloppy” with their work or that they are not deliberate in decision making. But people are drawn to them because they get good service and get it in a timely manner. When I am in a restaurant, I love my meal to be freshly prepared. But, I don’t want to wait three hours in order for that to happen. Being fast is not easily definable but you know when an organization is slow or unresponsive. We are admittedly the victims of a culture that is technologically advanced and has an expectation of quick quality service. Microwave ovens, cell phones, Google, and express lanes are just a few examples of modern technological factors. Cultural advances have raised expectations and that expectation is growing rather than diminishing. That begs the question: What does it mean to “be fast” in your area of service or ministry?
1. It means those who contact you by any means can expect a prompt and timely response. You may not be able to bring their questions, concern, or need to a quick resolution, but you can get started on the resolution quickly. In the worst case scenario, you should respond the next business day. You should strive to make an initial response on the same day you receive contact. The ideal is to get back with them very quickly. “But my workload is so great!” you might say. That does not change the expectation of those making contact. Those who contact you for ministry and service are “your work.” You must work with your team to find a way. Remember that a quick acknowledgement of their need and a commitment to follow through will suffice if you are in a crunch. But you must follow up soon.
2. It means that you meet deadlines and that you communicate on those occasions when it is not possible to meet the deadline. I work from a task list and I rarely schedule something to be done the day of or the day before it is due. If something is due on Friday, I put it on my task list for Wednesday (or even earlier if it is a larger project). I am typing this post on Thursday to go out on the following Monday. That builds in a buffer for me in the event of unforeseen demands on my schedule. Meeting deadlines is directly related to your time management skills and that is an area you must always seek to develop given the demanding culture in which we serve.
3. It means that you seek to provide an environment where quick decisions can be made. That is a tall task in a larger organization. Develop relationships and systems that allow for quick decisions to be made so that your team and your constituents can get a timely response to their ministry needs.
That went by fast! Until next time….