Saturday, January 16, 2010

Choosing Between the Doing Good and Doing the Right Thing

Methodist Church in Mission, Tx
Image by shainelee via Flickr
While this post revolves around a spiritual theme, it has business application. I was reading an article about following your vocation. While the article touched on serving God through the practice of your talents or occupation, my mind went off on a tangent, per usual. Before going into that tangent, let's just talk about a few examples of vocations. In the traditional sense, a vocation is a call to serve God as clergy of some form. However, it has evolved to also refer to other callings such as raising your family, being a carpenter, or any other skill you may possess.

Often, however, we lose sight of what our vocation is and get caught up on doing other things that seem right. One example that stood out in my mind is for those of us who are married. If you spend all your time going to prayer groups and church, while neglecting your family, then you are not fulfilling your vocation as a husband or wife, or that of a parent. While technically, you are doing good, you aren't necessarily doing the right things. Your family is paying the price for your absence.

In the business world, you may find yourself in the situation where you are busy doing many things for the benefit of your business; but you may not be doing the right thing. This comes back to figuring out your business core competencies and executing them exclusively. You may have added a line of products or services that do generate some revenue; but often at a huge cost.

Or, you may find that what you started doing as a business is not exactly what you do well. While building homes, you may find that though you are a good contractor, you are actually a good project manager in general. What is important is to look at your operations and identify what practices are merely good, and which ones actually move you forward. Once identified, you do not necessarily have to eliminate doing anything other than your core competencies. Rather, you should shift your focus and most of your energy to what truly matters.

When it comes to the spiritual realm, God has a plan for you; it is up to you to find that vocation and fulfill it. In the business realm, you can almost do the same thing by making sure that your business plan reflects your organization's true strengths; and, ensure that your business focuses on executing those things that truly fulfill the company's true calling. Otherwise, you end up spinning your wheels and going nowhere at great cost.


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