You must choose what is most important

July 14th, 2014

When everything is a good idea, nothing is a good idea. You must choose which things are most important.

That’s a tweet I shot off the other day. Us idea people have to be careful. We can be like the dog from “Up”: Walking along, eating our bone, then all of a sudden — “Squirrel!” The allure of the new thing annihilates the good thing we already had. In dogs, a constant attraction for new things can be mildly annoying. In life, it can be disastrous. Without sufficient commitment and follow through, good ideas are beautiful drives we keep firing off the first tee, without developing the wedge or putting skills necessary to sink the ball in the hole.

The same results happen in our organizations and in our personal life. In organizations, staff get jerked around from emergency to emergency. In life, we jump from interesting hobby to interesting hobby. In neither place do we experience much traction or progress — just a never ending tyranny of tasks.

My organizational environment is a large church. Like many large churches, Peachtree is a 24/7 communacopia of activity. There is always something going on that needs programming and promotion.

As the new guy, I got tired of being run over by someone else’s freight train of freak out. I never knew exactly what to do. Beyond the advice of my boss and a few colleagues, I had no filter by which to figure out what to support and how much.

I was constantly asking the question: 

Which of these many seemingly worthy things is most important? The problem is not simply a logistical issue related to managing time and being productive, but a fundamental question: What are we about, anyway?

The same thing has happened to me on my blog. I have more passions than time to pursue them.

Ideas need a filter. There are only so many resources, and when everything is a good idea, nothing is a good idea. This is true whether you’re leading an organization or leading your own life.

So I began asking lots of questions, and with my colleagues’ help I began to figure out how to filter more strategic things from less strategic things.

But while advice helped, my colleagues and I also wanted something more formalized, to survive the onslaught of demands and ultimately to provide better leadership. So with the help of a branding firm, we developed a new brand.

The wow factor is the new logo and color scheme, but the good stuff is what we were able to achieve with the brand statement. 

A brand statement is the expression of your core beliefs. It is a way to formalize and apply leadership and direction to activities and goals.

In a church or company, a brand statement relieves a staff from complete dependence on a leader’s vision for decision making. It builds leaders throughout the organization by giving them a filter mechanism to make their own decisions for the benefit of the organization.

In personal life, a brand statement becomes what Jeff Goins calls a “manifesto” – the one named passion that drives everything else you do. I believe finding a personal brand is both worthy and an extremely difficult task to accomplish. I’ve begun work on my personal brand, and it’s going to take a while. But it could become a game changer for me.

If you’re struggling with freight trains of freak out at work or in your own life, perhaps you need to look into the power of a brand statement.

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