It’s true what they say; “Good news travels fast” and will always reach you quickly, from anywhere in your church, ministry, or organization.
But bad news, no matter how important, moves like it’s swimming in peanut butter. And that can cost you precious time.
This is exactly what happened in Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30). When the master returned from his trip and asked his servants to account for how they had invested his money, the first two servants, with good news to report, answered immediately.
But notice how long it took to get a report from the third servant.
“Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” (Matt 25:24-25)
I’d bet that even if the master had not called this “staff meeting”, the first two servants would have burst into his office anyways to report on their 100% investment return. The third servant? I wonder if that report would have ever found its way to the master’s desk.
As a leader, you need to get all the information in a timely manner. So, how can you speed up the flow of even the worst news?
Effective leaders I’ve known have done this by:
- Creating a safe culture
Create a culture that minimizes fear and maximizes safe conversations.
- Being clear on timelines
“I need this information by Thursday” is much better than “I need this information as soon as possible.”
- Creating multiple information channels
Maintain various information streams to accelerate communication.
Bill Hybels’ axiom is, “Facts are your friends”. Getting all of your facts in a timely manner is critical to effective leadership.
How do you get the information you need in the time you need it?