Living as a Leader,  Organizational Leadership

False Hero Worship

Our Michigan Facilities Manager, Joe Yahner, calls the celebration of work and projects done at the last-minute, false hero-worship. He mentioned it in an impromptu conversation he, our Retreats Manager Eric Woods and I were having about Winter Teen Retreats preparation.

It’s a great description of an all too often occurrence in organizations large and small, including, in times past, at SpringHill.

False hero-worship happens when organizations confuse procrastination, the lack of planning and the accompanying last-minute scramble to get work done, with good planning and execution. When organizations and leaders make this mistake they reinforce the wrong behaviors in their teams. Instead of encouraging great planning and execution, leaders send a message that they value being behind with two minutes to go, and the lack of planning and procrastination which causes it.

It’s like making heroes of fire fighters who start their own fires, and then celebrating their great fire fighting. We become so addicted to the adrenaline rush of fire fighting (or watching fire fighting) that we inadvertently encourage fire starting (lack of planning and preparation).

And if adrenaline highs is your goal then good, thoughtful and intentional planning followed by calm and professional execution of the plan, offers very little excitement. It only offers great, sustainable results at lower organizational and personal costs.

Great planning and execution also offers the deep satisfaction of knowing a job, the entire job, from beginning to the end, has been well done – so well done that the work looked easy (even if we know it wasn’t).

So Eric, Joe and I had our own brief “celebration” in the Trading Post of the good planning and great work done by our team. And based on the first two retreats, we’ll also be celebrating another winter of great ministry.

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