Monday, March 15, 2010

5%

14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, "What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening... (17) What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone...
21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you."

 In one of the books I'm reading, Leading on Empty, author Wayne Cordeiro makes this observation;
"Eighty-five percent of what we do, anyone can do: checking email, answering messages, attending meetings, reading the newspaper or trade journals, and making simple decisions.  These tasks don't require an elite expertise or specialized skill...  Ten percent of what we do, someone with a modicum of training should be able to accomplish...  But 5 percent of what I do, only I can do!  This is the most important 5 percent for me.  I can't hire someone else to take my place in any of these activities because they require that I be there.  This 5 percent will determine the validity of the other 95 percent."

I believe that Moses, in the above passage, has fallen into a familiar trap...especially for leaders - and make no mistake, we're all leaders.  The trap is something I refer to as the Superman Complex - "I alone can save the world.  If I don't ____ than ____ won't happen."  Moses knows he's God's appointed leader and he has already led God's people out of Egypt.  What happens though?  Quite simply, he forgets that God didn't call him to do EVERYTHING.  Moses lost sight that the 95 percent was keeping him from the 5 percent.

Then Jethro steps in.  Jethro is Moses' father-in-law and he is a God-fearing man, who is both proud to see his son-in-law succeed as a leader, and humbled at the greatness of God.  However, he sees "all that Moses was doing..." and raises the alarm.  He says it pretty bluntly; "What you are doing is not good."  Put another way, Jethro may have been saying, "Moses, you've spread yourself too thin and you're doing too much...in fact, you're on the fast track to burn-out and you've forgotten the most important calling on your life."  His solution?  DELEGATE.

Delegating seems easy, but it is not.  It is very hard to trust someone else to do something and "hand it over to them."  It means it might not be done the way you'd do it, or as "perfectly" as you'd do it, or as fast as you'd do it.  It means believing that just maybe, God might have given someone else the gift/ability to do that same thing.  Maybe they'd even do it better than you (gulp).

Still, if it's part of the 95 percent and is taking you away from your calling, it must be shed.  Wisely, Moses takes Jethro's advice and is a much better person and stronger leader for it.  It allowed Moses to get back to the 5 percent that only he could do.

What about you?  What is your 5%?  What are those things that only you can do, that you alone must be present for?

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