Some people claim that results are “cold” or devalue people or are too hard to measure, but I think differently. Especially in ministry, our results are people and results mean changed lives… often for all eternity. At home, I definitely work toward positive results in my marriage and my children. It can be difficult to measure those results, but it matters to me to do well.
Henry Cloud, in his book Integrity, recognizes that there are some results that we cannot control, but claims that in most cases, character affects fruitfulness. He says that many people know the “what”or “how” of the work, but still do not produce good results. He claims that the missing ingredient is in “who” they are.
What I do… is intimately connected… to who I am.
In the 9th chapter of Integrity, Cloud mentions five important character elements for achieving results:
1. understand who I am and what I do well – Successful, effective people do better because they know what they like and don’t like, what they are good at and where they are weak… and they set up healthy boundaries based on their values. They don’t chase an idealized picture of themselves, practice a false humility, or fold to pressure from others… but rather they work well in teams with others who can complement their weak areas.
Am I pretending that I am someone I’m not? Am I trying to do what I am not created for in order to please someone else? Do I work alone?
2. prepare and focus before I act – Cloud describes this as “ready, aim… and then fire”. Being ready involves discipline, evaluative thought, and delayed gratification. It means avoiding rash decisions, “winging it” and impulsive actions. To aim is to live within reality and limits… not be “all over the place” with ideas and dreams. And fire means actually getting things done.
Do I have a plan… for my marriage, my family, my job? Do I know where I want to go? Am I doing the prep work to get me to my goals?
3. willing to make the hard calls – I already wrote about this is my “no more mr. nice guy” post, but there are a few challenging quotes from this chapter that I want to remember.
“Past being mean and uncaring, virtually nothing erodes respect in a person more than his or her inability to make the hard call.”
“The patient, the company, and the family will be better in the end…”
Do I have the courage and the ability to make the difficult decisions that some people won’t like, but are for the best?
4. find a way – To achieve results, people often have to persevere through hard times, make changes, accept failures, overcome obstacles. Cloud states that, “perseverance takes courage, stamina, emotional reserves, judgment, creativity…”
Do I quit easily or do I have what it takes to keep going?
5. learn to lose well – Most breakthrough inventions and ideas have numerous “well, that didn’t work” projects behind them. The keys to losing well are facing the reality of failure, accepting responsibility, and learning from the experience. Sometimes losing is just giving up something good for something better.
Do I take time to grieve and evaluate the loss? Do I blame others or do I consider my contribution to the error? Am I afraid to let go of something that is not the best?
Fruitfulness depends on focusing on who I am and what I do. I don’t want to sacrifice dreams, goals, or mission purposes because of my personal immaturity. I want to grow in character. What do you think about results?