Point to Ponder: “Dad, you seriously need therapy for Control and Fear (FMEA). The home is not a corporation. You need to learn to let go and enjoy the way things flow in life.” My children’s pleas to me during my first year in retirement. I guess the plea was indirectly on behalf of my wife too.
Recently, a retired friend from Oregon paid a visit to my place. Both of us being retired, and having some time on our hands, decided to make a quick day trip to Monterey. As we drove down the coast, we started talking about the first fifteen months of this new phase in our lives.
My friend had already been very active in his church during his career and retired early to engage more deeply in service. Seeing his commitment, the church members asked him to serve as a trustee and elected him as chairman of the board.
Even before assuming the position, he had noticed that the church could improve some of its systems and procedures. The resulting LEAN practices could bring better utilization of resources (Time, Money People, etc.) to serve the mission and agenda of the church.
My friend saw the need for a performance management system. Subsequently, he asked the pastor to set goals for the church for the coming year. He also made it clear that there would be periodic performance reviews. This left pastor wondering: Performance Management System in the place of worship and service? Who are we to judge? Let the Lord decide. Right?
Another thing he noticed that the time for the presentations and talks by members during various forums could vary enormously. So he proposed ‘The Crisp and Clear Communication’ system, something that he had learned during his time in the corporate world. Each presenter was to get 300 seconds (five minutes) to present their idea, proposal, and whatever else it was that they wanted to communicate.
During the inauguration of this new system, when the lead presenter got up to talk, my friend noticed that she had a big stack of papers (17 pages to be exact) in her hands. At the 300 seconds mark, the presenter had progressed to only an early part of the stack, so my friend had to intervene.
“Time is up,” he bellowed.
The audience was stunned. Prior to my friend’s arrival, it seems time was endless.
I could relate as my mother had told me a similar story from the senior center she attends. One high-tech donor had introduced a similar system in the community group and created a big uproar. The seniors felt insulted - interrupted by a youngster who did not understand the cultural norms and a show of proper respect.
Reflection: As my friend and I reached our intermediate stop of Mission San Juan Bautista I reflected on the first 43 miles of conversation. So many things that we learn during our working years can be very helpful in the real world, not to forget so many things we did not learn from the real world could have been more helpful in the corporate world. Knowing what to apply and when is the key to the peace of mind and happiness. The process of learning new things and unlearning some old practices has just begun. I will share my personal experiences and learnings in the future reflections.
In serenity of the mission courtyard I prayed for the success of my friend’s well-meaning efforts to bring more efficiency in his church.
Time is The Best Judge.