Thursday, August 09, 2007

Project Management vs. Human Resource Management

Last week, in response to Made It to Monday, Wes wrote:
"David - Can you flesh out your last comment 'human resources instead of project management.' I think I know what you mean, but I would enjoy to read your thoughts."
I'm a list-calendar-deadline guy. I like getting things done.  Few things are more satisfying to me than checking off the box in my online task manager and seeing that to-do item disappear to the bottom of the list.

Click.  Check.  Ahhhhhhh....

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like people.  Nothing brings me to life like working with others to proclaim the gospel.  But when it comes to my natural definition of productivity, I am inclined to think of projects, not people.

With glee, I acknowledge that my responsibilities at Covenant Life are very project and calendar and deadline oriented.  And that can sometimes be a pitfall.  In my leadership of our teams, I get too focused on execution of the next event, and I stop making the effort to help people serve to the glory of God and the fullness of their gifts.

A great example is related to our current "re-upping" campaign.  I've asked everyone who is currently serving on our tech teams to decide if they will continue next year.  As I get responses, I fill in a spreadsheet.  6 slots open here.  3 slots open there.

My first thoughts are: How do I fill those spots?  Who can I ask to double up?  Can I get a recruitment announcement from the stage?

My first thoughts probably should be: Who could be better positioned in order to be more fruitful in his or her service to the Lord? Which of these people need to be challenged to serve more? What type of people could I call on to bring their gifts to bear here? Who could I retrain to take on more significant responsibility?

I need to not just check the box and not just fill the slot.

I need to see how God might be using the church's projects to shape and mold the servants who will complete them.


W. Harris said...

Dave -

Thanks for hashing your thoughts out for us to read. I really appreciate your insight. If I may add..

I wonder if another analogy might be appropriate. This is more from the view of the helper: Volunteer versus Servant. I believe there is an important difference between the two.

Lastly, Willow's Leadership Summit is going on this weekend, and Bill Hybels interviewed Colin Powell. another blogger (Dave Ferguson) does a nice job of summing up the interview.

Colin talks about "It takes people to get things done" Dave then added, it is not email, voicemail, or projects that gets things done.

Some good stuff.

Dave Wilcox said...

Wes, what is the difference between Volunteer and Servant? I'm not sure I fully grasp what you're getting at there, but I think you may be on to something. Can you explain more?

Josh said...


I think I can relate to what you're talking about. I lead the sound team at a number of events in my church and after a while I got myself into the habit of looking at church events as gigs rather than than opportunities to serve my church as those who serve with me.

When looking at the event like a gig, it feels like just that, going to some event to get the job done. I ended up doing a lot of the things myself and would rarely give those serving with me an opportunity to grow. By doing this, it sounded good and we didn't have many problems, but I wasn't appropriately considering my fellow servants.

Thankfully, God revealed this to me a few months ago and has graciously changed my perspective on how I lead during these meetings. He's helped me to look at the event as a way to serve God, my church and my fellow servants. He helped me to humble myself and focus my attention on glorifying God and helped me to to give up things I want to do so I can help strengthen the gifts of those serving with me.

So, Dave, thank you for your comments.