Leadership Lessons from the Moving Truck

Posted by Aaron Buer on January 7, 2021

I recently moved, and let me tell you, moving a family of seven in the middle of a pandemic is no small feat!

I’m still recovering.

During this move, I learned a few things about leadership, change, and expectations that I think many of us can glean as we head into 2021. 

By the way, I’m still serving at the same church and still part of the Breeze family. We just moved a few miles away from our old place. 

Here we go: Leadership lessons from the moving truck.

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Set People Up to Win

My wife is pretty awesome. I’ll just say it.

She’s a great mom to five kids, an incredibly devoted and supportive wife, and she’s an organizational ninja.

Her organizational skills shined while we were moving.  

I’m more of a wing-it guy. Too often I’m like, “It will all work out. Trust me!”

Well, I got into a little trouble the night before we moved because I was labeling our moving boxes incorrectly.

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You see, my wife designed a system of labeling on three different sides with the contents of the box AND the room where the box should end up in the new house. (I may have internally rolled my eyes.)

What I didn’t realize was how useful this labeling system would end up being.

First off, the labeling system made the job of the people helping us move easier.

See the label, pick up the box, drop off the box in the room on the label.

Simple and easy.

With the labels, they always knew they were doing things correctly.

Secondly, I didn’t realize a month after moving we’d still have boxes all over the place.

And, when you’re looking for the nightlight for a specific kid who happens to be melting down at bedtime (hypothetical situation), that nightlight is easy to find because it’s right on the label. Crisis averted. 

There’s a leadership lesson here.

People like to win. People want to know they are doing a good job.

The people you lead need clarity around goals, objectives, and what’s a win and what isn’t.

In my experience, when you make things clear (label the boxes), most people perform very well in their job, because we all like winning!  

I have a question for you: Are you labeling the boxes for your employees? Volunteers? Kids? Do they understand the goals and expectations?
 

Consider Future Costs

Moving to a new house was a significant undertaking.

Let’s just say I underestimated the cost.

I don’t mean money. I’m talking about time, focus, energy, and stress.

I haven’t moved much in my life and never with all five kids, but I was thinking, we pack up everything, we put it in a truck, we unload it, and we live happily ever after.

Yeah…that’s not what happened.  

What I failed to realize beforehand is stuff would break during the move and need to be replaced, our kids would need extra attention, our new fridge wouldn’t work, a month after our move there would still be dozens of unpacked boxes, rooms would still need curtains...and does anyone know where my winter hat is?!?  

This move has caused me to be less productive and focused and has cost me more time and energy than I ever dreamt.

That being said, moving has also been fantastic for my family. This house will serve my kids well.

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I’m glad we did it, and I’d do it all over again.

But, there have been costs attached to this project that I didn’t foresee. 

Here is a brilliant question to ask as a leader: What are the future costs?  

...When you consider launching a new program.

...When you consider cutting an existing program.

...When you consider a new building, campus, new service, church van, new staff member, the list goes on and on.

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A decision always comes with unseen future costs, so there is wisdom in slowing down and asking yourself, “How will this cost me in the future? How will this decision impact me and the church in the weeks and months ahead?”

Taking the time to think through appropriate expectations could empower you to navigate change more effectively and with less stress.

Wrap Up

So, there you go—two leadership lessons from the moving truck.

By the way, if you’re moving soon, replace your twenty-year-old washing machine before you move.

Trust me on this one.

Topics: Advice

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