Friday, July 22, 2016

Better is Better

I love to make things better.  I love people who share my belief that Better is Better.

The legendary band, Spinal Tap shares my belief:

Hilarious! However, I love people who are always looking for a way to take their art and their work to the next level.  

You see, status quo does not inspire anyone.  Status quo is not noticed.  That’s because status quo is expected.  Don’t expect to get praised for “doing your job.” All you are really doing is meeting the minimum expectation.  Most employees expect some kind of pay raise for the next year just for doing their required job description.  However, only the employees who expand their network, grow their sales, and improve their effectiveness have any right to ask for a pay raise.  Better work - better pay.

Yet, when you attempt to make things better, don’t expect everyone to cheer you on.  If you are looking for people at work to roll out the red carpet for you, don’t hold your breath.  Many people truly prefer the status quo.  They like their system and their work rhythm just the way it is.  It is familiar, it is predictable, and it has become comfortable.  

Years ago, I was a Musical Director at a church.  The Pastor passed me in the hallway and mentioned “Matt, I ran in to a family in our church whose teenager attends a nearby school.  I wish we had a way of getting some of these students at this school engaged in our church.  Some of them are decent singers.  Maybe you could think of a way to reach out to them and use them in music somehow.”  I understood that he was not giving me a directive, but sharing a passing wish or suggestion.  

I already had a full plate at work - plenty of moving pieces and coming events I was already working toward.  But I saw this as an opportunity to meet a need for our church, to fulfill a desire that my Pastor had for this family.  My passion to make things better moved me to take action.  I immediately put a plan together blocking out time in my schedule to make this dream become a reality.  

I reached out to this family, I scouted out several students that were the singers of the nearby school.  I scheduled rehearsals, selected music and began arranging music.  I made rehearsal CDs for the students and then rehearsed with them.  On a Wednesday night church service, they performed.  Standing ovation! The Pastor LOVED IT! The kids were so happy for the opportunity to sing at the church.  “Matt, can you get these students to sing on a weekend church service?” asked the Pastor.  “Absolutely!” I answered.

So, I began arranging, rehearsing, planning.  I remember being in a planning meeting with the music and media staff talking through my plans for the students.  This time, I was going to add a Gospel Choir to sing back up with the Student Singers.  I had brass players and a full band.  I was going to make it even better!  I remember as I was casting the vision for this upcoming performance, some of the team members were sinking in their chairs.  When I told them “I have 7 students singing and have a Gospel Choir singing”, some said, “Matt, we don’t have that many microphones.  We already have so much work to do.  And besides, we really don’t do that kind of music here at the church.”  

“How many microphones do you have?” I asked.  “We only have 5”.  “Well, can you find 2 more?” “I’ll help you.” I replied.  

“We don’t know where we could possibly put the Choir if you also have 7 student singers” was their next block.  I responded, “Guys, it’s a very large platform.  Surely I can help you find a space for them.  We can think out of the box.  I promise you all that this will be awesome for our church - it will be worth it!"

I could tell I was going to have to pull the team along with me.  And while I understood that extra work costs them time and energy, I had strong belief that this performance was going to be worth the extra work - for all of us.  Well, it was worth it.  The students, the choir, the musicians, and our team all did a fantastic job.  People stood to their feet in appreciation.  The families of the students were thrilled.  Our church experienced a performance they had never experienced before.  We had built a stronger relationship now with the nearby school, with many of those students starting to attend our church.  

When you have a dream, protect it.  When you see an opportunity, seize it.  Don’t rely on others to see it.  Dont wait for people to encourage you.

You drive it forward - 

You keep pushing through the obstacles -   

A great quote is from the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was given the nickname by her opposition political party:
“the Iron Lady.”  She said:

Consensus is the absence of Leadership

What she is really saying is that when you step out to lead people to something new and better, not everyone is going to agree with you.  She is telling us not to wait for everyone to understand or to buy in to your dream before you begin to move forward and take action.

Pastor Tom Mullins, Founding Pastor of Christ Fellowship in South Florida says:

Excellence honors God and inspires others 

Excellence is noticed when you go the second mile, when you do more than what is expected or required.  Excellence is giving your best even if it costs you more work and more energy.

Make Things Better - You will stand above the rest 

No comments:

Post a Comment