Precision and focus applied to leadership development yield significant results but require a long-term and sacrificial view.
Bill Evans performs phenomenally on the piano in this YouTube clip. He is one of my favorite jazz artists (McCoy Tyner, Roy Hargrove, and Miles Davis are some others) but I have only listened to him until watching this clip today.
The words “precision” and “focus” came to mind as I watched him play. Those two words have surfaced personally as I think about my own development as a leader.
It’s become less about quality and more about quantity in terms of how I value and structure my time. In many ministry contexts quantity remains a higher value than quality; it’s been an uphill struggle to focus on quality but the results have been fantastic, and each time I enter into a situation where the culture prefers quantity it’s become easier to say no.
Developing precision has required external feedback from others as well as internal searching and evaluation. Even more challenging has been the need to risk my current reality and trusted methods for leading for the uncertain and untried. I have been amazed at the results that have come from experimenting with new ideas and concepts.
There piano features 88 keys, but Evans plays a few at a time. In some ministry contexts I have experienced a playing of all the keys at the same time–it sounds terrible and even hurts the ears. There’s lots of wisdom in focusing on the few over the many. Expert leaders demonstrate the same ability as Evans to select the right keys at the right time, in the right order and with the right tempo for maximum impact.
I love this quote from Seth Godin:
“The rest of my life is easy compared to the hard work of not getting waylaid by inbound interruptions.”
Enjoy this wonderful performance by Evans:
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