October 28, 2010

Less Is More

I finally jumped into reading "Rework" by Fried & Hansson. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone in any role of leadership. I love Seth Godin's exhortation on the front cover of the book: "Ignore this book at your own peril." And there you have it. I'm not sure what's exciting me more: the content or the ADD-friendly, short-segmented way the book is written. I guess I'll go with the content. And at this point in my life, I've read so many books that cause this lightbulb to go off in my head - the "Why didn't I think of that?" bulb - that it's a shot in the arm to read someone else validate and affirm decisions you've already made. I wanted to share one of those specific things with you.

When I arrived a year and a half ago at The Brook, I tried to spend my first 4-6 weeks really just absorbing the culture, the state of things, and the underlying realities. I wanted to know WHAT we were doing, HOW it was being done, and most importantly, WHY. I quickly figured out that we were a LOT of different people doing a LOT of different things. People who originally may have been moving in the same direction, but were now rowing our own lifeboats and trying to convince ourselves that we're all paddling up the same stream. This was not the case. So I spent much time on my face praying about this. What do we do, Lord? And I kept coming back to the same thing: less is more

Trying to be honest - and fair at the same time - we easily had 14-18 different ministries trying to stay afloat, defend their territory, and forge ahead. In our very first Leader Huddle I presented a new approach: less is more. We want to be Starbucks, not Walmart. (And oh, how I meant that in multiple ways!) We laid out our biblical core values - worship. grow. serve. together! - and we said that if something isn't directly birthed from or pouring into one or more of these values, we're not going to do it. And there are even a few things that we might argue ARE birthed from or pouring into these values, but for now...we're not going to do them either. WHY? Because LESS is MORE!

In "Rework", Fried and Hansson talk about the first step that Gordon Ramsay almost always takes when trying to breathe new life into a "failing restaurant": he "trims the menu". They go on to say that "Improving the current menu doesn't come first. Trimming it down comes first. Then he polishes what's left. When things aren't working, the natural inclination is to throw more at the problem. All that ends up doing is making the problem bigger. The right way to go is the opposite direction: Cut back." It was a very difficult decision to tell many of these people I had only known for 6 weeks, "We're not going to do that anymore". Some people aren't fans or believers in "Less is more". That's OK. Some people are! And I believe those leaders, organizations, and yes, churches who choose to do a FEW things - those who choose to take the risk to even cut those things that aren't essential and "polish what's left" - will wind up with something that (over the long haul) makes a difference. A BIG difference!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

1 comment:

Tulip said...

While not in a leadership role, I am encouraged by what you've found in Rework. I shall have to lead myself to the store to buy it!