Assumed Constraints…

Ken Blanchard says in Self Leadership and The One Minute Manager that the first “trick” of the self leader is Challenging Assumed Constraints. He defines an “assumed constraint” as…

a belief you have, based on past experience, that limits your current and future experiences. (p. 33)

So, if I’m going to challenge the assumed constraints in my life and my organization, and if I’m going to move beyond those past assumptions to a more productive and effective future, the starting place seems to be identifying what those assumed constraints are.

I started thinking about those assumptions this week, and as they came up, I started listing them in my notebook. I’ve got to tell you, it’s not a pretty picture. Especially when I realize that the assumptions I’ve placed on the people I lead and serve may be more detrimental to our mission than the assumptions I assume they operate under themselves.

And that scares me.

So, since you’re already praying for me after “I Quit,” you might as well go ahead and look with me into these constraints that have been holding me – and us – back.

Assumed Constraints for Our Church

  • That our best days are behind us
  • That we “can’t compete” with the megachurches, the new churches, etc. all around us

What About the Constraints I’ve Placed On Our People?

  • That no one really cares
  • That they (we) aren’t willing to change
  • That they won’t follow my leadership
  • That they (we) are stuck in the past
  • That they (we) are not interested in the things that really matter
  • That the “old dogs” are too old to “learn new tricks”
  • That they (we) won’t respond to any bold challenges
  • That they (we) won’t accept the responsibility for a new season of growth and effectiveness
  • That they (we) are too interested in having our own needs met to actively reach out to meet the needs of others
  • That they (we) won’t give to support anything new
  • That they won’t like me if I lead in a different direction
  • That they will fire me if they don’t like me

What About the Assumed Constraints I’m Fighting Against Personally?

  • That I’m too old to attempt something great for God
  • That I’m hopelessly stuck in debt that keeps me from real freedom to do those great things for God
  • That I don’t have the necessary skills to be effective in this culture
  • That I – and I alone – am completely responsible for the success or failure of our church

This week, I’m in the challenging mode…if you need to challenge your assumed constraints, share them. Let’s commit to praying for and helping each other with challenging – and overcoming those things that are holding us back. Deal?