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My worst project – Lesson 4: Poor team preparation

This morning (I’m typing this at stinkin’ 6 a.m. – that’s how committed to you guys I am), Karen and I are flying off to Hong Kong to debrief Talia and her World Racer buddies a final time. I’m a jogger, so I prepare before long trips like this – where jogging venues are uncertain – by running e…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

This morning (I’m typing this at stinkin’ 6 a.m. – that’s how committed to you guys I am), Karen and I are flying off to Hong Kong to debrief Talia and her World Racer buddies a final time. I’m a jogger, so I prepare before long trips like this – where jogging venues are uncertain – by running extra. Typically, I do 20 miles a week. So this week I did 25 (17 in the last two days).

The trouble is that the extra work did a number on my knees. I don’t think it’s bone-on-bone yet, but it feels like it as I write this.

So, what should have been great preparation ended up pushing my body over the edge. Which brings me to today’s topic. Matching your team’s need to get ready with the actual preparation you give them is essential. Push ’em too far and they may bail on you, just as my knees did.

And the reverse is more often true – not enough preparation and you’ll flunk Culture 101.

As we prepared for this trip, physical preparation was just one way we got ready. Of course, packing was an ordeal as we always take a duffel bag full of presents from family members for the Racers. And there were the logistics: Our agenda on the ground had to be coordinated with the needs on the field.

We also had to get our finances together; we’ll be running three separate debriefs (flying to the Philippines for two days to see my son Seth Jr.’s team). And after all that, we had people who stopped us to pray for us along the way.

So there’s your list of areas you’ll need to cover as you prepare: Physical, Packing, Logistics, Schedule, Finances, and Prayer. If you want more details, write me and I can email you a list or two.

* * *

You know, I was going to write about a fifth problem I encountered leading my first short-term project, the problem of focusing on the physical rather than spiritual aspects of a project. But frankly, I’m tired of this theme and wondering if maybe you’re about done with it too.

Sometimes, you throw things out into the blogosphere and you wonder if you’re scratching where there isn’t really an itch. So, unless there’s a groundswell of people asking for it, we’ll move on to some other blog subject when we arrive on the other side of the globe tomorrow (I re-read that sentence and thought to myself, “good grief that sounds nonchalant” – what a world we live in!).

Comments (3)

  • Seth, I’ve really enjoyed this little series… I think it has a lot of great lessons for us all. But like Tony said, it’s your blog, and if you’re tired about writing on this subject, write on something else you’re passionate about.
    Either way, I hope you and Karen get a nice break in Asia, tell the Racers I said Hi.
    (Also, great photo! That’s got to be on a World Race advertisement somewhere!)
    Cheers/Dave

  • I’m not tired of this theme, I think it’s fabulous and well needed for a lot of people, me included.
    But its your blog dude. haha…

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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