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The One Thing That Will Make You a More Effective Leader

In 2009 I took my first full-time paid ministry position as a staff member for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  My official title was Area Representative and my primary responsibility was to equip and empower coaches and athletes to leverage their influence for Christ. I was responsible for all FCA ministry within a six county area.

At the time, the area I covered had no clear strategy for disciple-making, ministry efforts were scattered and disconnected and there were few athletes or coaches on board.  To say that it was hard to figure out what to do would be an understatement. I was simply overwhelmed.

A Timeless Principle That Makes a Timely Difference

In need of both clarity and encouragement, I sought out a respected leader in our city.  He was the CFO for a well respected bank.  He’d led the organization in that capacity for more than a decade and had substantial influence.  He was also a leader at a local church and was committed to making disciples.

I didn’t know him very well at the time (we’d only been introduced once), but in my mind he was the perfect person to get some insight from, so I asked for a meeting. To my surprise he agreed. What he had to say literally changed both my life and my leadership.

I shared with him my situation and asked for his input.  After an extended silence, he looked me in the eye and said, “consistency over time leads to influence and results in impact.” That was it? It seemed so simple.  I was honestly hoping for something more profound.

As I sat there dumbfounded he went on to explain that results take time.  There are no overnight successes.  In most cases, impacting people isn’t something that can happen in a day, a week or even a year.  It’s something that takes years of consistent effort in the same direction.

Most leaders, he said, don’t gain substantial influence because they’re too focused on immediate results.  They have sky high idealism and unrealistic expectations. As a result, they get heartbroken when those expectations are not met within just a few short weeks or months.  They change strategies, goals and direction so often that none of their efforts have time to gain traction.

It’s the leaders who keep the big picture in mind while striving for consistency that make the biggest impact.  Onward they march one day at a time, day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year until their efforts build up momentum and eventually see breakthrough.

Image via inward-fitness.com

Image via inward-fitness.com

Consistency = Results

This principle was a game changer for me.  For the rest of my ministry I consistently focused my efforts on one big idea, equipping and empowering coaches and athletes to impact their teams for Jesus Christ through team specific ministry.

I started traveling to all the schools in my area to talk about team specific ministry every semester.  I traught student-athletes to start team specific ministries through leadership training at the local college every week. My supervisor and I even started an annual leadership camp to help coaches and their invited student athlete leaders start team specific ministries.  On top of all that, I made it a priority to meet with various athletes, sponsors or coaches every week for discipleship the entire time I was with FCA.

In other words, I made sure that I consistently aligned everything I did with the purpose of making disciples through team specific ministry.  If an opportunity didn’t directly align with this objective, then I simply didn’t do it. The results of this consistency speak for themselves.

By the end of five years we saw dozens of leaders raised up, roughly 20 team specific ministries started and hundreds of unchurched coaches and athletes influenced toward faith in Jesus, many of them even becoming Christians.

One Thing

Consistency is the one thing that will make or break you as a leader.  If you are inconsistent in your convictions, character, vision, strategy, goals, communication, relationships, approach or a number of other factors don’t expect anything less than inconsistent results.  Jim Collins, author of several leadership books, is right when he says in his book Great by Choice that “the sign of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.You simply cannot expect great results with an inconsistent approach.

If you want to be a leader who leverages opportunities for extraordinary impact, then make it your ambition to master the art of consistency.  Learn to be consistent in your faith, character, approach, relationships and life.  Identify the one thing God is calling you to do and then consistently do only that which is in line with that calling. Keep at it and over time you’ll eventually see breakthrough.

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