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Getting things done


Issue 232

Have you noticed how hard it can sometimes be  to get something done? I’m talking about achieving the right and satisfactory result or desirable outcome. So much work revolves around achievements, targets, results and outcomes that it is almost as if each hour is a micro-story of wheeling and dealing.

There are times when you feel that you are getting lost in the phone system or bureaucratic forest. You press the requested buttons, dial the right number or click the right button, leave the right message and still do not get what you require.

There are people who throw the phone down, bang on the table or scream at the computer screen in frustration whilst others shrink into valleys of despair just hoping that the issue will resolve. In between this rage and despair most of us live our lives in articulate requests and negotiations trying to be polite, inclusive, correct and effective.

At the same time, in this world of numbers and buttons, long queues and uncertain delivery dates, unreturned phone calls and missed deadlines, there are a huge number of people who want to do a good job. They want to get it done; they actually enjoy delivery.

So how can we get more things done, boxes ticked and tasks completed? I would suggest four big principles:

Firstly, perhaps the hardest task of all is to find the right person. If you are recruiting this is an immense and complicated task. If you are wanting to do a deal with an organisation or business there will be someone somewhere who can sort out what you want resolving; the challenge is to find them. They may be hidden behind a firewall of telephone numbers, personal assistants or web pages but there is always someone who has the authority, the ability and the will to do the job.

In the meantime you have to keep going – never giving up until you reach that individual not taking ‘no’ or ‘wait’,  for an answer.

Secondly, once you have found them you will have to get their name and direct contact information – for in today’s world there are numbers and addresses which go into a system and there is another domain where numbers and address actually reach the person.

Thirdly, having found him or her and noted their details you have to ask the right question. There’s no point in getting to a person and asking the wrong question. You will usually  have refined this question on the way since it is likely that you have asked it to a number of wrong people already – proving that you were dealing with the wrong person in the first place and giving you a chance to practise your question. Part of your enquiry may even include the question “do you have the ability and will to sort out this issue?” – although you may ask it in a more subtle way!

Finding the person, noting their name and asking the right question leads you to the final step of actually agreeing and doing the right thing, although of course agreeing is not the same as doing until the task is actually done.

Now take your pick of where you want to go for the spiritual lesson on this. You can start with what I have described and say ‘just as this is true in workplace dealings so it is in spiritual life’ or you can start with a number of biblical examples and observe that they give you insight into the way good deals should be done. I’ll leave you to reflect on that for a week and also issue you with an invitation to draw the spiritual lesson out of this piece. Email your suggestions to worktalk@worknetuk.org and we will compare notes. We may even publish your reflections (only with your permission however).


Luke 18:1-8

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4″For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ “6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

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Series: Getting things done
Module: 2
Season: -
Daily Guide: Yes

Tags: negotiation, people, solution, success

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Geoff Shattock

© Copyright 2024 Geoff Shattock

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