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Steve Marr Blog

Steve Marr's contributions

Nov 22
2006

Confusing Activity with Accomplishment

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

 

Tom was a bundle of energy, always in constant motion. His boss was impressed and pointed out that Tom was his star employee. However, you have to wonder if Tom carrying the business on his back through superhuman effort or if he is accomplishing much at all through his perpetual motion. Tom’s boss needs to answer that question!



Often, we confuse intense activity with getting things done. There is a difference. Paul wrote. “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating air” (1Corinthians 9:26 NASB). Paul understood the difference between just looking busy and getting things done. 



We are instructed by the Lord to “not judge by appearance, but with righteous judgment” (John 7:25 NASB). We need to be careful to manage ourselves and our employees by separating the appearance of activity from accomplishment.


Consider these three groups of people who look good, but do not deliver:



#1—The Boasters: Boasters talk a great game but don’t deliver. They are always telling you about what they are going to do rather than what they have done. The king of Israel said, “A warrior still dressing for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won” (1 Kings 20:11 NLT).  One salesman, Lee, would consistently turn in contact reports listing new business generated. However, when the business actually received was reviewed, the real amount of business was far less. He would impress others by the volume of calls and the glowing reports, but he was bragging about business that never materialized. We need to document actual results to verify those great stories.    



#2—The Movers: Movers are in constant motion, but they accomplish very little. King Solomon said, “It is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who makes haste with his feet errs” (Proverbs 19:2 NASB). Mary constantly fumbled papers on her desk and looked busy to all who passed by. Often, after reviewing a document, she would just toss in onto another pile. She would handle the same paper 4-5 times before passing it on or asking a related question. Until her boss measured the work actually accomplished, she was viewed as a model employee. Business leaders need to clearly identify the work to be done and measure the work accomplished. Then you will know if the work is valid and on target, or just a bunch of fluff.     



#3—The Non-Finishers: Non-finishers start with an outbreak of action, and though they might continue to move forward, they never get to the finish line. The time worked is then of little value. Shawn was great at starting. He would start to straighten up the storeroom, then start to resolve old billing invoices, and then start following up on past due accounts. Unfortunately, while Shawn worked a lot of hours, he got little work completely done, negating most of his efforts. “The end of the matter is better than its beginning,” says Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NASB). Workers may be very active, but until a job is completed, we fail to receive the benefit of that work.

Steve Marr, your Christian Business Coach



All of us must stay focused on the most important work. This guarantees that what must get done actually gets done. Moses wrote, “Teach us to make the most of our time” (Psalm 90:12 NLT). We must dig below the surface and manage our business in a way that understands, respects, and rewards those who are truly productive … rather than those who just look busy.


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