Principle Over Production

The family will never come back to your church. It wasn’t that the coffee or child check-in was poor. It wasn’t because you took an offering or that you spoke clear gospel truth. It wasn’t because you did not have a hip reclaimed pallet wood wall in every room.

It was because they were treated like a number and not a human being.

Your best employees might be leaving for the same reason.


“But, I am a ‘D’,” you say. “Somebody else will take care of it.”

No they won’t. Deal with it. It doesn’t matter what letter or personality test you are pegged as.

As one of my mentors and former John Deere Executive often said, Jim Milstead, “I don’t care what others name you or what you prefer, you are a child and follower of Jesus. Our instructions are clear.”

When we focus on production, principles can be overlooked. When we focus on principles, production can never be overlooked.

Principles are the guiding light. They are the jelly in a PBJ. They are the DNA of the body. They are the water in the ocean. They are the voice of the preacher, administrator or singer.

Common production over principle mistakes are:

  1. Allowing tasks and the urgent to overwhelmingly trump what matters most
  2. Blindly walking past people instead of being considerate to really listen and care for people
  3. Not taking the time to be spiritual because “that happens” in our personal life
  4. Keeping rules rather than thoughtfulness and understanding
  5. Having an emphasis on information rather than relation
  6. Thinking aesthetics matter most
  7. Pointing directions in-lieu of showing them in-person

Do you ever witness similar mistakes on your team? Are you one of the culprits? If so, it may be time to revisit what principles drive you and your organization. Do they match? If not, it may be time to speak up or move on. Principles can never be sacrificed if there is to be workjoy.

The following is a playbook on how to ensure principles drive work joy and high impact:

  1. Make a long list of the principles that drive your organization
  2. Refine the long list to five including feedback from qualified others
  3. Communicate the principles internally
  4. Model the principles over and over . . . and over
  5. Communicate the principles over and over . . . and over

Operating by principles will yield positive impact and work joy.

Remember the perspicacious words of Scott Scherr, CEO of Ultimate Software, “Winning companies put people first. If you focus on recruiting, cultivating and retaining good people, you’ll see better results.”


One response to “Principle Over Production”

  1. […] Production Over Principle blog. […]


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