Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land. Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. Nehemiah 5:16-17
Sometimes at work we can spend too much time in meetings and not enough time in doing what we decided to do in the meeting! I struggle with this—I want to get good input from as many smart people as possible, but at times it is just not practical to prolong a decision. I am learning to gather data and people’s opinions, but then trust the Lord, test what I’ve learned and adjust as I go. If I wait beyond a window of opportunity, I may miss out on the momentum gained from a compelling, collaborative meeting. Fewer meetings and more follow through inspires the team!
Nehemiah knew the need for convening a diverse team of gifted leaders for the sole purpose of completing a massive project. He was a project manager worth emulating! Yes, over 150 workers representing various stratus of society and nations gathered—uniquely skilled to complete the momental task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah gave a stirring motivational speech, organized the team around specific tasks and made sure each one did their part. Even as the enemy attempted to disrupt the work, the workers were equipped to beat back their attackers.
“Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out” (Nehemiah 4:20-21).
Are you “intoxicated” by too many meetings? “To do list” overload—unsure how to prioritize? Why not quit trying to do everything—give your ego a break—and trust the Lord to get the things done that you don’t have time to do with excellence. Delegate, so others can grow in their abilities to manage and lead. Make room for margin to allow for mistakes, improvements and interruptions. Better to have fewer meetings with quality outcomes than more meetings with inferior results. Try focusing 20% on collaboration and 80% on execution—not the reverse.
True collaboration does not try to manage conflict, but instead trusts the healthier option of embracing, even encouraging conflict. Like sand paper—different perspectives smooth off the rough edges of raw and ragged thinking into the best solutions for the most pressing problems. Untested opinions foster surface commitments, but verbalized ideas force us to prove the value of our point of view. Some steps to healthy collaboration: respectful disagreement, short-term agreement on a solution, test the idea, evaluate and over the long-term improve the process.
Most of all, collaborate with Christ and pray for His Spirit to facilitate the best outcomes.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me first to collaborate with You and then trust You to work through the process of collaboration with others.
Application: What meetings can I stop attending, so I can better follow through on my tasks from the most important meetings?
Related Readings: 1 Kings 12:7-11; Matthew 6:33; Acts 15:1-35; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10