Ask for directions

By Mike Klockenbrink

Direction, not intention, determines destination.

It doesn’t get much clearer than that.  Throughout my life I have had the best of intentions, but at times I have arrived at the wrong destination.  I remember throwing a surprise birthday party for my wife.  I thought it was  going to be great; she’s going to love it; I’ll be a hero.  I made the necessary plans, picked my wife up from work and told her we needed to run by the house to pick up my wallet.  We walked through the door and everyone yelled surprise.  My wife does not like surprises.  Ooops!

I had the best intentions in mind.  I like surprises, but I didn’t take the time to consider if she did.  Unfortunately, throughout my life I’ve had many good intentions both at home and work that didn’t end up where I intended.

Many times we have loved ones, friends and employees who may have gone the wrong direction, even with the best of intentions.  While I may appreciate their effort, I sometimes ask “Help me to understand what you were trying to accomplish?”

I found that there are usually a few reasons we get off track.

You’re happy overachiever.
If a little is good, more must be better.  Sometimes more comes with a cost.  You spent how much? How much time did this take? This is all I was looking for.

They do everything but …
Look at all of the things I got done.  That’s great, except the only thing I wanted to see completed didn’t get done.

I thought, therefore you should know.
So with little or no understanding your employees will do something and arrive at a destination.  In the words of the famous Dr.  Phil:  “What were you thinking?”

So what do we need to do to make sure we arrive where we’re supposed to? Know who you’re talking to. Everyone is wired just a little bit differently and will respond differently. Don’t assume.  Everyone knows this one.  Be clear with your direction and what your expectations are.

If you are not clear with your direction, nobody will ever end up at the destination regardless of your intention.

Direction, not intention determines destination.

Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church, Folsom, CA. []


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