In our organization, each of us has pledged to practice “Stewardship” in an effort to “obsessively eliminate waste and maximize our God-given resources.” I would like to address one wasteful habit that many of us practice without even thinking about it.
We all have certain natural talents or “strengths” as well as “weaknesses.” God has made each of us in a wonderfully unique way. I like to think of our abilities as “Gifts.” We have been gifted in amazing ways by our Creator, and we honor Him greatly when we offer those gifts in service to others.
As we mature, we ought to become aware of our individual strengths and weaknesses…those things that we are “good at” and those things we are not. At some point, we may believe that it would be advantageous for us to work on our weaknesses to become more “well-rounded.”
Before you begin such an endeavor, please consider this example. Imagine that you are a professional basketball player. You are naturally right-handed, and normally make 7 of 10 free throws when you shoot this way. Your coach tells you that you need to improve on your free throws and asks you to work on them for an hour per day for the next 30 days.
As you head to the gym the next morning, you wonder whether it would be better for you to practice shooting free throws right-handed or left-handed. When you shoot free throws left-handed, you only make 1 of 10 shots, so you think you could become more “well-rounded” if you would work on this weakness.
Furthermore, after 30 days of practicing left-handed, you suppose that you could make 3 of 10 shots, a 200% improvement. On the other hand (pun intended☺), you suppose that you would improve to making 8 of 10 shots right-handed with a month of practice, only a 14% improvement.
In this example, we all see how wasteful it would be to practice left-handed for a month. There are several reasons we could discuss, but here is how I would describe the biggest waste: Practicing left-handed will help YOU perform better, but practicing right-handed will help YOUR TEAM perform better.
When the game is on the line (another pun intended), you will be shooting right-handed, and the time you spent practicing left-handed will do nothing to help your team…it was wasted.
There are probably other people on your team who shoot free throws left-handed, but that is not your job. The beauty of being well-rounded applies only to the skillset of the team, and not to any individual.
Sometimes, each of us will need to do things that we are not particularly good at. When this time comes, we owe it to our team to give our best effort. But when we can develop our skills, let’s practice what we are good at in order to get better. This is how we eliminate waste and maximize our potential.
--- Julian Coblentz, COO, VP of Distribution and Business Development, Walnut Creek Foods