November 13; How To Determine The Benefit Between Quitting And Persevering
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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13 November

The poor you will always have with you…

Matthew 26:11a

How To Determine The Benefit Between Quitting And Persevering

Wisdom

The pastor’s desk was a mess. Your Business Professor secretly coordinated with his assistant and hired a professional organizer who sorted, tagged, vertical filed, aligned stapler and staples, put the printer in reach, cleaned out drawers and scrubbed down the walls.

Two weeks later it was back to being a mess. It was a classic example of Poverty (a permanent condition) vs Poor (a temporary affliction).

***

There are some things a manager just cannot fix. Real management genius is determining the difference of knowing when to quit without being a quitter.

Sometimes it is a poverty of personnel. Other times it is a poor organization of the person’s position. Management professor Peter Drucker writes that there are,

…jobs that are “widow-makers” [that] should be rethought and restructured.

In the heyday of the great sailing ships, around 1850, just before the coming of steam, every shipping company had a “widow-maker” on its hands once in a while. This was a ship which, for reasons nobody could figure out, tended to get out of control and kill people.

After it had done this a few times a prudent shipowner pulled the ship out of service and broke it up, no matter how much money he had invested in it. Otherwise, he soon found himself without captains or mates.

In many companies there are jobs which manage to defeat one good man after the other—without any clear reason why. These jobs seem to be logical, seem to be well constructed, seem to be do-able—yet nobody seems to be able to do them.

If a job has defeated, in a row, two men who in their previous assignments have done well, it should be restructured. It then usually becomes clear, though only by hindsight, what was wrong with the job in the first place. (Drucker 1973) p. 409

In every situation the manager must determine, “Is this a temporary stage or a permanent characteristic? Is this a variable or a constant?”

Marketing manager/consultant Seth Godin writes,

Most of the time, we deal with the obstacles by persevering. Sometimes we get discouraged and turn to inspirational writing, like stuff from Vince Lombardi: “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time. Godin, Seth (2007-05-10).

***

I visited my pastor in the entropy of his office. “When’s the last time you saw the top of your desk,” I tease.

“A coupla weeks back,” he says. “ Some busybody cleaned up and moved everything around.”

“Was that helpful?” I am wondering about that invoice for that “efficiency expert.”

“Heck no!” he says. “Couldn’t find anything.” He spreads his hands across two piles of papers. “Now I know where everything is.”

He was a happy man.

I felt like one, sad nuisance. I didn’t help at all. The clean office made no difference. That would have taken managerial wisdom to leave ‘well enough’ alone.

The poor you will always have with you…Matthew 26:11a

###

Notes:

Godin, Seth (2007-05-10). The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) (Kindle Locations 54-56). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

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