When I go home from just about anywhere in my city there are two ways to get there. Two roads lead to my neighborhood. From just about any location, one of those two roads feels and seems to be the shortest route. As the crow flies there's no doubt. That said, I'm no crow and I can't fly. What tends to almost always be the case is that what seems to be the short way winds up being the long way.
The seemingly short route is currently plagued with construction. If you drive down that road at the wrong time of the morning you will get backed up in traffic and sit for 20 minutes. If you’re lucky. This road is well trafficked because it's more well-known. Nathan always wants to debate with me that it's shorter. So every once in a while – against my better judgment – we will give it a shot. And we always regret it. What seems to be the short route very often winds up being the long road.
If I could just once and for all learn this lesson as a leader. Almost every time I get anxious, impatient, or forget that why and how are just as important as what, it seems to always come back to haunt me. You and I both know that the journey is just as important (if not more) than the destination. But we get so in a hurry to arrive that we're not even sure what happened in the wake of getting there.
Very often, the short way winds up being the long way. But in all honesty, short and long aren't nearly as important as right and wrong. Often there's a right way. It's usually also the hard way. And my estimation is…it's highly likely to be the long way as well.
What takes more time now: Doing it myself...or building a team? The answer to that question – especially if I'm more concerned with right now and getting it done – is to build a team. It takes more time to cultivate people. It takes more time to invest and build. But in the long run…it's worth the investment. The short way winds up being the long way.
What takes more time now: Unilaterally making a change and letting everyone know about it...or walking everyone through the change with you? If your theory & mentality is “My way or the highway” or “Get on the bus…of get left behind!", then just go ahead and make the change. Drop it like a bomb! But if you want to not only sustain your leadership, but also actually grow the people and the organization you're leading, then take the time to walk them through it with you. If you have a vision worth selling and you're a leader worth following, then take the time to share that vision with the people you want to follow you. I know it feels like the long way, but it winds up being the short way.
“…the prudent gives thoughts to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
“Train up a child in the way he should go; in the end he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Leading an organization? Building a team? Do it the right way. It’s worth it.
Raising a child? Discipling your son or daughter? Man, don’t we all wish there were some shortcuts. Sorry. No dice. It’s long, hard work. And it’s worth every moment, every tear, every prayer, and every opportunity of shepherding their heart toward Jesus.
If we embrace and enjoy and savor the journey, the destination will be that much more satisfying.
The long way sometimes winds up being the short way.
The long way very often ends up being the right way.
Who cares about shortcuts, anyway?