I want to talk to you this afternoon about getting your work done through somebody else. As I was listening to that testimony, it took me back some years where I was asking the Lord to give me wisdom about how I was going to finance my ministry, and I bumped into a fellow who was doing very well running smorgasbord restaurants. He said that if I was willing to come up with the building, that he would provide a crew, and they would install the equipment, and they would train my personnel, and run the business for me for two months. So I took him up on that. I had been working for General Motor’s Corporation in the management training field, and the Lord gave me the wisdom to put that thing together. One led to two, and two led to three.
To make a long story short, in the matter of three years, I was running 12 restaurants and we had about 720 employees, and we were handling like eight million dollars a year, and it was a pure miracle. If I was going to maintain my ministry to other people, I had to get my work done through somebody else. I want to share with you some of the simple, little principles that we followed in order to make that happen. When you’re getting your work done through somebody else, I think you have to come face to face with some basic principles of human nature, and one of them is very graphically spelled out in Isaiah 53:6. That one says, “All of us like sheep have gone astray; we have gone everyone unto his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the inequity of us all.” What is the iniquity of us all?
It’s the tendency to want to do it the way you want to do it. Is that right? There are very few people in this world that I know of who want to devote their lives to pleasing me. . . very few. I have found this to be true in the life of my employees, that they, too, wanted to run things their own way, and anybody that’s in business has to accept the fact that people tend to want to do things the way they want to do them, and so there are some specific things that you need to do if you’re gonna get your work done through somebody else. Now in relation to that, I’d like to call your attention to some of the experiences that Moses had in leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
In Exodus 3:10, this is God talking to Moses, He says, “Come now, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” In chapter 4, verse 1 Moses answered and said, “Behold, they won’t believe me, they won’t listen to my voice, for they will say, the Lord hath not appeared unto thee.” Have you ever gotten an idea like that? Thinking it through in your own mind, and saying to yourself even though you have a burden on your heart to communicate it to somebody else? You’re tempted to say there isn’t anybody that’s gonna listen to me. Why should they listen to me? They won’t do it.
I’m not even gonna try because I don’t want to be embarrassed. I suppose that many of us have this burden on our hearts to translate what’s in our minds, and make it happen. One of my little terms that I like to use is: “That management is making something happen through other people.” I mean MAKING IT HAPPEN. FORCING it to happen through other people. In chapter 4, verse 10, Moses said, “Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore nor since you have spoken unto your servant. I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” I’ve listened to sermons where the minister would point out that that was an alibi on the part of Moses, but I don’t look at it that way.
It seems to me that Moses was making a realistic evaluation of some of his limitations. One of the keys to leadership is to know your limitations. I remember one time they asked Henry Ford the secret of his success, and he said, “The secret of his success was his ability to gather men around him who were smarter than he was, and to get them to work for him.” That was the secret of his success. I remembered that, and I began to realize that if I’m gonna get into the restaurant business, since I didn’t know anything about restaurants, I had better find somebody that does.
The secret to my entry into the field was to hire people that were smarter than me, and give them a track to run on, and see that they accomplish what we agreed that they would accomplish. Now here is Moses saying, “You want me to lead a group of people, but I am slow of speech, and that was not a figment of his imagination, he in fact was slow of speech. This was God’s response to him. Chapter 4, verse 12. “You go, and I will be with your mouth, and I will teach you what to say.” I’ve had that experience. I can remember having a burden on my heart to reach people for Christ, and way back in the 40’s I was an engineer, and engineers are not very talkative people.
My wife use to accuse me of sitting and dreaming, and she could see gears in my eyeballs. That’s what she accused me of. I was an introverted engineer. A dreamer! Well there’s a long way between being an introverted, dreaming engineer, and standing up here and talking. Long, long way. I discovered this: What the Lord said to Moses, He will do for us also. He’ll be with your mouth, and He will teach you what to say. I, many, many times am amazed at what comes into my mind, and I say to myself, “That is a great idea.” Sometimes when I’m standing up here, I say things that while I’m saying it I say to myself, “That is quite a thought.” First time I thought of it myself.
There is this amazing thing that if you commit what you’ve got to the Lord that He’ll be with you. Now you don’t have to evaluate what’s going on. There might be stresses and strains, and difficulties and problems. That’s no reason to question whether the Lord is with you. I asked the Lord a few years ago to teach me more of His love, and joy, and peace. I’m just saying that because you want to be careful how you pray… the Lord might just answer your prayer. I went to the post office to mail some packages for my wife, and I came out of the post office, and my car was not where I had parked it, and I said to myself, “I’m sure getting old, I couldn’t even remember where I parked my car.
There was a parking lot around the back, so I went around to the back, and it wasn’t there either. I said to myself, “It must be that Eva came and got the car.” So I called up Eva, and I said, “Where are you?” I’m calling up my home and I’m asking Eva where she’s at? She said, “What is wrong with you?” Well I want to know if you came and got the car.” She said, “No, I’m at home.” Anyway, I went around the front and it dawned on me that somebody stole my car. I’m standing there saying, “Lord, why did you let somebody steel my car?” You know what the Lord told me? He didn’t tell me anything. I’m just standing there without a car.
You know what? It dawned on me if I want to learn something about love, I’d get a chance to love a car thief. What a wonderful thing to be able to love the guy that stole your car. As I was just remembering it, that this could be an answer to my prayer, and the Lord will lead you, but the way He leads you may not necessarily be the way you like it. I think the important thing is that we ask ourselves, “What is the Lord wanting to teach me?” If you want to know what He is teaching you, He’ll let you know one way or another. I asked the Lord, for instance, to give me a proper perspective on wealth. Be careful now when you pray like that because I made an investment, and that investment created a loss for me.
I don’t know about you, but it was a lot of money to me. About a quarter of a million dollars. Again I asked the Lord, “Why?” Not a word. It just dawned on me that in order for me to get a proper perspective on the things in this world, that the Lord doesn’t mind spending a quarter of a million dollars of my money. I don’t think that you need to jump to the conclusion that the devil is after you because you run into a problem. I don’t give the devil that much credit. I consider myself to be a child of the King. What I want to know is… What does God have to teach me? I learned a few more lessons in the last few weeks.
When you think of that verse that talks about the depth of the riches of the knowledge of God, and I think that you can look upon your business as a training vehicle for you. Day-by-day trusting that He’ll teach you what to say and He’ll tell you what to do. Anyway, God accepted Moses’ evaluation of himself. He was in fact slow of speech, so the Lord said, “I will send you your brother.” In chapter 4, verse 15 and 16 He said, “You shall speak to him, your brother Aaron, and you put words in Aaron’s mouth, and I will be with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do, and he shall be your spokesman unto the people, and even he shall be to you instead of a mouth, and you shall be to him instead of me.”
Now that’s the way it goes in a business. There comes a time in a life of business when you just can’t be in on everything. Isn’t that true? In my consulting work, I have a very, very difficult time, many times, with the founder of a business that just gets bigger and bigger, and bigger, and too big for him to cover everything, and he won’t let it go. Many, many times I’ve had this experience where I tried to sit a very wise, creative, affluent man down, who has created something bigger than he can handle.
If he’s gonna get his work done, he’s got to choose somebody, and put his words in somebody else’s mouth, and teach somebody else what he is to do, and you either have to shrink your business so you can control it, or you have to get your work done through somebody else. Here is an illustration of that, where God choose Moses, and Moses did not abdicate his responsibility, but God gave him a spokesman. As you well know, the spokesman for a business isn’t necessarily the brains behind the business. That may be true of some of you where you’re trying to do more than you can do, and you know it, and you need to get somebody to be your spokesman. Anyway, that’s the way it was there.
So they went to the people (You know the story), and Moses performed 10 miracles of plagues. He ran into some problems. He went to Pharaoh and asked Pharaoh to let his people go, and in chapter 5, verse 9; this is what happened when Moses got through negotiating with Pharaoh. Pharaoh said, “Let there be more work laid upon the men that they may labor therein, and let them not regard vain words.” Pharaoh’s response to Moses’ efforts to release the people was to put more work on the people. And this people said to Moses. Did you ever have employee problems? “
“The Lord look upon you and judge because you have made our savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh in the eyes of his servants to put a sword in their hand to slay us, and they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and because of cruel bondage.” I have found this to be true too. When people are facing some anguishing kind of situation, maybe it’s at home, maybe it’s tensions at work, it’s very difficult for your employees to pay attention when there are pressures going on. Is that not true? That’s the way it was here with Moses. Anyway, finally after ten miracles, and when you perform ten miracles in your business, you ought to have your leadership established, shouldn’t you?
After ten miracles, Moses led his people out of Egypt, and he did a dumb thing that any objective observer would call dumb. He led his people out of Egypt with Pharaoh after him, and where did he lead them? To the edge of the sea. Now anybody knows, just plain objective fact, that that’s stupid. Right? You come to that place sometimes, don’t you? Where as the leader you have a vision, and in your efforts to implement the vision you run into some difficulties and some problems. This was the response of those Israelites to his leadership. Listen, you talk about sarcasm, listen to this.
This is in Exodus chapter 14, verse 10 and 12. “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why did you not deal with us to carry us out of Egypt? Is this not the word we told you in Egypt saying, “Leave us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians, and that we shall die in the wilderness?” Now that isn’t true, they were crying out, “God—deliver us!” Now they’re blaming Moses for leading them out. You see, Moses performed a miracle, and there was a path in the sea, now that should have established his leadership. Then chapter 14, verse 31 that says “Israel saw the great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord, believed the Lord, and His servant Moses.”
Moses was the hero. But in chapter 15, verse 22 it says, “Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness three-day journey. Three days later after this fantastic recognition of Moses, and they found no water. When they came to Marah and they could not drink of the waters of Marah because they were bitter, the people murmured against Moses saying, “What shall we drink?” Whenever there’s a twist in the road people will forget all about the nice things you have done, don’t they? We all raise questions about the current problem. I don’t think that’s unusual; that’s perfectly normal.
I don’t think anybody has to raise wonder about your leadership because some of the people in the organization murmur because they can’t see the way. This is one of the privileges of leadership–to think ahead. Anyway, we know that Moses performed another miracle, and in the 15th day, the second month, they started out again, and the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron. Did you ever have the whole outfit down on ya? And the children of Israel said unto them, you see, they didn’t have any good food, and so they said, “Would to God that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt when we sat by the flesh pots, and we ate and drank to the full, and you brought us out into the wilderness to kill the whole assembly with hunger.”
Whenever there is a twist in the road, there is questioning on the part of the people that follow you, is that not correct? Now, in Exodus chapter 18 is an interesting incident, and I believe has some implications for leadership. Jethro was Moses’ Father-in-Law. Do you ever get a visit from your Father-in-Law? His Father-in-Law was coming with his wife and two sons, and they had a meeting and Moses was telling Jethro about the wonderful things that the Lord did to him, and the next day Moses went to work. He got up early in the morning, and he came back late at night. Now you’d think that anybody that puts that much time and energy into making something go deserves a pat on the back.
This is what Moses’ Father-in-law told him when he came home. Verse 14. “When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you’re doing to your people? Why do you alone sit as a judge, and all the people stand about you from morning until evening? And Moses said to his Father-in-Law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God.” Maybe somebody asks, “Why do you work such long hours?” And your answer is the same as Moses. “What would they do without me around the place? All the critical decisions must be made by me. Isn’t it fortunate for me that they have me in this company?
It is a very difficult thing to relinquish the decision-making process to somebody else. I remember one time when I had a clinic, a counseling clinic, and I had brought my staff of eight together, and gave them the bad news that I was going to go overseas for two months, and they would have to get along without me. When I came back, our clientele was up, our financial picture was better than when I left, and I found myself being rather disappointed in the good news because I certainly had no idea that they would progress without me around. That was one of my early lessons in leadership that there are other people around, if you give them a track to run on, that can do the job as good as you, and maybe better.
This is what Jethro was asking Moses about. Here is Moses working hard, very hard from morning until night. Now I suggest to you that that is not a particularly admirable choice. A lot of times the good leader becomes so pre-occupied with his business and he’s got his head so full of business that he pushes off his other responsibilities to his wife and children because there is this demand, and he can support it, too. There is a legitimate demand for his time that makes him work from morning until night. Now when you have to get your work done, you either work from morning til night, or you have to share it with somebody else.
Moses choice was to work from morning to night. He said in the 16th verse. “When they have a dispute, it comes to me and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and make know the statuettes of God and His laws. And Moses’ father-in-law said unto him. “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out both yourself and these people who are with you because the task is too heavy for you and you cannot do it alone.”
Now a lot of us would say, “Don’t tell me the task is too heavy for me, I’ll show you that I can handle it. I’m gonna prove to everybody that I can do the job.” Then the leader takes on much, much more than he can legitimately do. Now I’m not talking about loafing, I’m talking about legitimately dividing your task. Now listen to Jethro. “Listen to me,” he says to Moses, “I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes before God, and you teach them statuettes, and the laws, and make known to them the way that they are to walk, and the work that they are to do.
You tell them what the rules and the regulations are, and you give them a task, and furthermore, select out of the people able men who fear God, men of truth who hate dishonest gain, and place these over them as leaders of thousands and hundreds and fifties, and ten, and you let them judge the people, and you let it be known that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they judge among themselves, and it’ll be easier for you that they will bear the burden with you.” Now you want to translate that into everyday language, and I want to put it this way. I’m sure that this is elementary to most of us, but it’s worthy of review.
I live in Florida, and the professional baseball teams, there are three of them that come into our area every spring for what they call Spring Training. Now these are the finest baseball players in the world. Many of these fellows are millionaires, and they don’t need to be playing baseball if they don’t want to be.
I am interested in watching what they do. I’m talking about the finest baseball players in the world. You know what they do when they get down there? Play catch. Practice batting and practice running the bases. They review the fundamentals of baseball.
When you watch a good athletic team, you watch a team that is very familiar with the fundamentals of baseball, and so without apology, I just want to spell out for you what the fundaments are of delegating responsibility to somebody else. There are these seven steps. In my experience in working with people who have personnel problems, there is generally a violation of one of these seven steps.
# 1: Develop a simple outline of the functions and duties and operations to be performed. That’s another way of simply sitting down with the individual that you are giving the job to, and making it clear to that person what you want him to do. This is what I want you to do. I would say write it. I don’t want to trust my memory as to what kind of a conversation I had with an employee two months later. Just a simple outline of what you want them to do.
For instance, I have a manager in the restaurant business, and his responsibility is to hire personnel, and his responsibility is to keep the labor cost no less than 12 percent of the gross. That’s not the accurate figure, but it’s an illustration, and no more than 15% of the gross. You see the job description is I want you to control the labor.
# 2: Develop a simple statement of the results which you will consider satisfactory. Your work is satisfactory if you keep the labor cost no less than 12 and no more than 15 percent of the gross. I’m just using that as an illustration. So the first thing you want to do is to tell them what you want done, and the second thing you want to do in advance is to spell out what constitutes satisfactory performance. I found it to be very important to create the kind of climate where you employee can evaluate his own performance whether you’re there or not, and when you come around to look over his shoulder, what you’re looking for is predictable, and you’re not gonna be taking him by surprise.
When you give a man a pretty good outline of what his work is to be, and you take the trouble to spell out what constitutes satisfactory performance, it gives you an opportunity to be very lavish with your praise. “That’s a good job; you sure made it, didn’t you?” “That’s good, that’s good.” He can predict that you’re gonna tell him it’s a good job before you even get there. He doesn’t need to wonder what constitutes satisfactory work. You’ve agreed ahead of time what it is.
# 3: At regular intervals you want to check his actual performance against the standards that you have set. That’s another way of saying when you delegate responsibility to somebody else, you need to provide continuous, ongoing supervision to make sure that it’s done. In relation to this one task that I gave my General Manager, the labor cost was important enough so that we expected him to figure his costs at the end of his shift everyday and telephone it into our main office. We had to watch our labor cost that closely.
Now it was predictable for him, he knew what we expected of him, and he knew how often we wanted to have a report. So there was no element of surprise involved in what we expected of him. That gets a little tougher to be inspecting a job that’s fairly easy. To describe a job, it’s tougher to spell out standards of performance that let him know, and let you know what you want, and how you want it done. It’s still tougher to check up on an individual once in awhile. I hate it. One of the reasons I’m not in management, I know how to do it, I have done it, and I know enough about it to know that I don’t want to do it. If you’re in management; that’s what you’ve got to do. Management is talking to a man about his work and how well he is to do it, and checking up on him on a regular basis if you want it done your way. Well that’s all that Jethro recommended to Moses.
# 4: Making a list of corrective actions necessary to improve the performance where needed. Now to say you did a good job is fairly simple, but it’s kinda difficult to tell somebody that works for you that they’ve missed it. I seldom hear anybody say to me, if I’m talking to them about how they missed the mark, they say to me: “That just warms my heart that you just got through telling me that I missed it. I’m so glad to have you come around because I can depend on you. If I don’t do it well, you’ll tell me about it, just like that.” I don’t hear that. People resist supervision. People tend to resist evaluation, and so it’s very easy for us to avoid evaluation because people can get pretty nasty if you try to evaluate their performance. To make a list of corrective actions necessary to improve performance.
# 5 is an equally important point. Seek the best sources from which help can be obtained.
# 6: The time should be set aside in advance for supplying the wealth of information needed. One time I was talking to a General Manager of mine and I told him he ought to take an American Management Association course on management, general management. He said he thought that was a good idea. So I said, “Then you’ll do it?” He said, “Yes, sir I will do it.” “Great.” Except he didn’t do it. In a couple of months I asked him, “How do you like the course?” He said, “I haven’t done it yet.” “Well why didn’t you do it?” “Well I just didn’t get around to it.” “But you will do it?” “Oh yea, I’ll do it. I think it’s a great idea and I agree with you that I ought to take that course.”
“Okay, then you’ll do it?” “Right, I’ll do it.” “Good.” Except he didn’t do it. Now why didn’t he do it? Because I just overlooked point number six which is a time should be set aside in advance for supplying the help and information needed. Now what are we talking about here? We are talking about selecting a man to help you do your work, and these six steps are intended for you to see to it that there is no way that your employee can not succeed.
Your intent is to see to it that your employee succeeds. We use to say to management trainees, “If you become a management trainee, you must succeed. There is no way for you to fail if you stick to our program. We will see to it that you succeed. Really what we’re talking about here is putting our energy into helping somebody else succeed at doing their work, your work, and this is YOUR WORK that we are talking about. Getting it done through somebody else. So getting work done through somebody else means that you have to spell out what you want done, and how well you want it done.
You have to check up regularly to make sure it’s being done, and you have to make corrective suggestions when necessary, and you have to supply the training and the equipment that they need in order to do the job. This is what we’re talking about when we talk about what Jethro advised Moses to do. When you get somebody to do your work for you, we have to recognize that we’re going cross-wise with human nature. It’s normal for any individual to want to do what he does in his own way. Delegating responsibility implies that you’re going to give him a job that you want done your way.
When you’re asking somebody to do it your way instead of his way, I think we have to appreciate the fact that we’re asking somebody to do something that goes cross-wise with human nature, and this is one of the reasons that supervision is so critical. Getting your work done through somebody else implies check up, check up, check up. Now I think our responsibilities as leaders are that when we go to check up on somebody else who is doing our work that it is predictable that here comes a happy man he is relaxed, and he is comfortable, somebody who is living a balanced, sensible life. Somebody who is worthy of being followed, and when you look in the mirror, you can say to yourself that very fact.
“That I am living my life in such a way that I am worthy of being followed.” I don’t think that’s egotism, I think that’s a minimum requirement that we need to maintain our lives as the Apostle Paul did who said, “Be followers of me, even as I am of Christ.” So anybody who delegates responsibility for your work to somebody else, I think the delegater of the responsibility, if we are Christians, you’d better see to it that we are walking in a way that is pleasing unto the Lord and as these people emulate us and follow us that they will realize that to follow you means that you wind up in good places.
To be associated with you means that you are associating with somebody who’s becoming nicer, friendlier, more relaxed as the years go by. That’s the kind of a life, I believe, where when you speak of your Lord and Master that you’ll be entitled to have a hearer, and people will listen.
Let’s pray. Lord, I just want to pray for each of us who are in a position of responsibility for other people’s work, and I just pray that you might show us those things in our lives that we can do to make us easier to follow, and you show us what we can do to make our testimony clear-cut. We ask it in Jesus’ name, Amen.