Efficiency – simply making team or budget cuts in crisis – is NOT the goal. It is entirely possible for your team or organization to efficiently die! Growth is the goal… and for that to happen we need to make cuts with purpose – to intentionally PRUNE what we are doing and who we are doing it with SO THAT we can produce a beautiful and productive outcome. The most important question is therefore WHAT DO I WANT THIS TO LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE?

Necessary endings

These last few months have been painful. What’s worse is I have exacerbated the pain by procrastinating on decisions that I knew I needed to make. I didn’t want to hurt people. I hoped things would change. I avoided confrontation because it doesn’t make me feel good!

So the problem grew until the pain of not acting surpassed the necessary pain of acting.

I rented out half my office space. I pivoted our events to online. I told a couple of my team that their hours would be reducing and I will be replacing one of them with a more specialized role.


But necessary.

There are two books echoing in my head. One is what we need to do as a normal part of growth and serving our organizations to be beautiful and effective – Necessary Endings by Dr Henry Cloud . The second is what happens to organizations that don’t – How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins.

I don’t want to be a statistic out of that second book! How the Mighty Fall is about highly successful companies that failed because their past success blinded them to necessary changes in order to grow in the future. It’s easy to cut problems. It’s hard to take some really good things and intentionally prune them for the sake of future growth. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Success that blinds us

Sometimes the weight that we are carrying is the success of yesterday. The star player from the last game… BUT THE GAME HAS CHANGED and the sooner we realize it the easier it will be for us.

I was reading the book of Joshua. It was a significant season change. Moses is DEAD. The old success is over. The past season has changed. The leadership style that worked in escaping Egypt and navigating the desert WOULD NOT WORK for the next season. NEW is required.

First acknowledge that there is change. Don’t pretend or procrastinate. Change is normal. Change happens to us and around us and within us. It is necessary! (I’m sure you are no longer wearing diapers…. Or living at home… HOPEFULLY!).

So be strong and courageous!

I read on in the first chapter of Joshua and it’s a pretty clear message. Don’t deviate from the path (growth into promise). Be strong and courageous (because it IS uncomfortable and scary). Don’t stop meditating on God’s word and promises (keep the vision and source front and center so you don’t go the wrong way). Oh…. And BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS.

  1. Get clarity – What is your vision? – How will your team/organization look in the future? What has God said? What is the promise?
  2. Get humble – How is past success (or ‘method’ of success) blinding you from making necessary changes? Where do you need to let go of what you think you know, in order to embrace what’s next?
  3. Get out your knife and prune – What are the key activities, key roles and key priorities for you to move from where you are to where you want to be? Who and what needs to be pruned? Make plan.
  4. Get moving – A sharp knife is most kind. Be quick. Be decisive. Be kind. Get pruning!