Activity vs. Impact

Activity vs. Impact

Most people’s default measurement tool for their effectiveness is how busy they are.

The thought process goes like this:

  • If I have a full schedule of activity I feel invaluable to the organization
  • If I am doing a lot of stuff I must be doing some good
  • The result of all these meetings and all this planning is that people have lots to do and are motivated
  • Therefore, since everyone in the organization is busy and excited, we must be effective
The activity-driven formula
Impact (?) = activity + resources + more activity

This is a horrible measurement of effectiveness. This is why billions of dollars are spent in America on the local church and we will impact about the same percentage of people in 2010 as we did in 2009.

Let’s face it. We measure ourselves by how busy we are when we are trying to cover the fact that we have almost no impact. But there is a better way.

The impact-driven formula
Impact = activity – resources + results

If the local church were a machine we’d call it broken. Lots of activity with no or negative results. That’s a zero or negative mechanical advantage! All of the energy of spinning the organization is dissipated out as fiction.

If the local church were a corner grocery store, we’d file for bankruptcy. We paid the bills but the owners aren’t seeing growth, in fact they are net losing ground in the marketplace.

If the local church were a school, the government would take over. We just keep spending more money but test results are not improving, in fact they are getting worse.

If the local church were a politician, we’d vote ourselves a raise. Wait, that’s not a good example.

In an impact-driven organization you measure success purely by impact.

In your mind activity without impact is waste.

Conversely, if you want to make a large impact you have to take the time and invest your energy in maximizing the impact while limiting your activity.

If you are stupid busy but not experiencing results— are you frustrated and trying to figure out why?

Your answer lies in your busyness.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

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