Make It Better

November 2014

We recently listened to Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast at a CARE for AIDS staff meeting, and many of the principles discussed on the podcast have influenced they way we are thinking about our plan for 2015. In this particular episode, Andy discusses the six organizational behaviors that help he and his leadership team create a work culture that embraces their values in a practical way.

The six behaviors are as follows;

  • Make It Better
  • Take It Personally
  • Collaborate
  • Replace Yourself
  • Stay Fit
  • Remain Open Handed

While each of these behaviors are worth delving into, I want to focus on the first this morning: Make It Better. Andy describes this behavior as “coming to work every morning looking for a way to make it better”. The “it” in this scenario could be anything- your specific job, one task or event, or the organization as a whole. As long as you are constantly thinking toward improvement, you will be living out this organizational value.

The anecdotal example he gave was very impactful for me. Andy describes a problem that his Middle School Director came across a few years into his work at North Point. The attendance at their middle school summer camp had become so high, it quickly became logistically impossible for the director to implement his favorite activity- the bonfire. I can commiserate… that contemplative night around the bonfire at summer camp is an incredibly special experience, but with hundreds of middle schoolers running around, it could easily turn into a camp director’s worst nightmare.

But, in the spirit of making it better, this employee decided that in order to keep the value of that bonfire moment, he would build 72 individual bonfires where small groups of middle schoolers could gather with one chaperone each, all on the same night of camp. While it would have been much easier to simply nix the bonfire, the staff decided that they were willing to work harder to keep the inherent value of the event alive. 

Not only did going the extra mile by building 72 bonfires preserve the value of that memorable camp activity, it made the experience much better than it ever could have been. With smaller groups and multiple leaders, conversations were had and relationships were formed that never would have had a chance at one bonfire with hundreds of campers.

I strive to be the kind of employee, leader, and family member who is always willing to work harder in order to preserve value- how can you “make it better” this week at work, in your personal life, and at home?