Craig Groeschel - Get More Done in Less Time (GETMO)
Here is one thing that I know for certain about every single one of you as leaders. What I know for certain about you is that you want to get better. If you're leading a startup tech company, if you're a seasoned CEO, if you're leading a non-profit, if you're new to a job, if you are a pastor wanting to start a contemporary service and all you're lacking is a worship pastor with skinny jeans and lots of hair product, no matter- What it is that you care about and lead, what I know about you as a leader is that you want to get better, you want your organization better, you want to be more efficient, you wanna be more profitable, you wanna reach more people, whatever it is, you want to be better. I'll give you an example.
In 1996, Amy and I started Life.Church, we started in a two-car garage that had been converted into a dance studio, and you can see the garage in the background. If you'll look carefully in this next screen, in the middle you'll see something that if you were born after the year 2000, you won't know what it is, it looks like an extraterrestrial, and what is called is an overhead projector. If you don't know what an overhead projector does, I'll explain it to you, it was used in education and it was used for a while in the church world. What people would do in the church world is they would write the lyrics to a worship song on a piece of transparency, and then they would put it on, usually off-centered on the thing and it would spurt up on the wall, and then at the right time, some volunteer, the most important volunteer in the church would skillfully take one off and replace it with the other one with lightning-like, Buzz Lightyear speed, and if you did it at the right time, the song would continue and it would go great.
The problem at our church is we had a very excited guy named Jerome that was new to his faith, Jerome had been a drug dealer, and Jerome actually had, true story, had a finger shot off in a drug deal that went bad. Jerome would try to flip the transparencies, but he would be so into worshiping he'd forget, we'd be three verses later and then Jerome would take his four-fingered hand, we called him the Four-Fingered Flipper. The Four-Fingered Flipper would try to take the transparencies off, and when people are trying to sing the song, they would be counting fingers. I was convinced the greatest obstacle to us changing the world was that overhead projector and the Four Fingered-Flipper. To get better, what I was convinced that we needed was we needed a real video projector.
The problem is a real video projector at that time, for our needs, cost about $3,000, which was close to one month's worth of income for our little startup church. I knew we needed it, but I wasn't sure that we could afford it. so I did what you might call in business a cost-benefit analysis, what is a cost-benefit analysis? That's when we try to answer the question, do the potential benefits justify the costs? Do the potential benefits of how this might improve our worship experience justify the cost of $3,000? You do this all the time, you may not know it, you walk into a restaurant, you try to decide, do I order what I want or what's cheap, right? Do I get the salmon or the kids' menu, macaroni and cheese? You do this if you are a young adult and you're considering college education, do I potentially go into debt and spend four years while the benefit might help my future education?
What does it cost, justify the benefit. You might do this financially, if you get a little bit extra money, you might say, "Should I pay down debt or should I maximize my retirement in a matching fund at the company"? Someone might do this at a global leadership summit site today, you might see a cute girl and you're a single guy, and you've already noticed there is no ring on her leadership finger. You wanna ask her out, but the cost could be embarrassment, but the benefit could be you meet your co-leader. I just say, Sir, ask her out, go for it, and if she says yes, and if you get married, and if you have a kid one day, name him Craig, because I came here to help you grow in your leadership.
Do the cost justify the benefits? Here's the problem in leadership, the assumption that many leaders make is this, that better always costs more, so many leaders think better always costs more. For example, you may, in your business or leadership, come across what some would call the better curve. This would equal quality and this would equal cost. The assumption would be that for improving quality, the cost would go up. Over time we know that there are diminishing returns, in other words, the cost might not bring as much quality. Then over a lot of time, there could even be gradual deeper diminishing turns where the quality actually starts to go down.
I'll give you some examples. Let's say you don't own a suit and you're invited to a wedding or a funeral, you have to go to a funeral so you can buy a suit. I'll give you context in the United States where I live, let's say you walked into a big-box store and just a generic suit off the rack, and let's say it cost $300 or so, you have no alterations done to it, your suit might be a little long in the sleeves, it might be a little baggy of here, but you can walk into the wedding, you can get the job done, nobody's gonna really care, you got a suit. Let's say you have a little more financial flexibility and instead of $300, you pay $700, it is quite a bit more cost, but the improvement is really significant. This time you got some material that's going to last longer, this time it was altered and tailored just to you.
When you walk in you kinda looking good at that wedding, and so you might say, if you have that flexibility, that the additional cost actually is worth the benefit. Let's say though, someone says, "No, no, no, no. you need to go crazy, you need to get a $3,000 custom-made suit". You might think about it, but when you look at it, the additional benefit of the slightly more expensive suit to you is worth it, but the real benefit of the difference between a $700 one and 3,000 one might not really seem like it justifies the cost for you. "That seems to be a little bit too much for my taste," and so you back off as you go through this. The same might be true if you're making a presentation, let's say you have to make a presentation at your company and you could spend three hours preparing for your presentation and it's good quality, or you might spend 10 hours and it really does improve the quality of your presentation, or you might spend 40 hours and it gets a little better, but you start to recognize that the additional benefit really isn't worth all of that additional cost.
Here's what we need to understand, we assume that investing more brings a better return, this is the assumption that leaders make. We have to recognize that over time, investing more eventually brings a diminishing return, and at some point there's always a cap. For example, let's say you're leading a church, and you have 400 people in your church, and you're gonna do a fundraiser, and you're gonna build a building, and so you're gonna build maybe, a $4 million building, and it's gonna be good, but if you put an extra million dollars into it, you get a better sound system, better kids space, it is an additional cost, but the benefit really is worth it to you. Or instead of 4 million or 5 million, you could be stupid and spend 50 million for 400 people, at some point that might actually hurt you because people are gonna come in and say, "Why did we spend so much money on this when we could have used the money to help people in need"? Suddenly you recognize that more does not always mean better.
Here is a new idea I'm gonna give you, I'm gonna give you two ideas today that I hope stick. I hope that when you go back to your nonprofit, when you go back to your university, when you go back to your church, wherever you go, that two phrases stick with you and that you use these, you talk about them, and it adds value to what you do. The first I love, and I made this up, and you'll be able to tell I made this up. Is spelled G-E-T-M-O, and that spells GETMO. Everybody say GETMO. I don't know about you, but I wanna GETMO. anybody wanna GETMO? Anybody wanna GETMO tonight? That came out wrong. Anybody wanna GETMO production done in your business? Keep it there, people, people, people, people, people. GETMO, everybody say GETMO. What you're gonna do under the principle of GETMO is this. You're gonna look for the greatest level of return based on time, money, and resources invested.
Let me say it again, you're gonna look for the greatest level of return, based on time, money, and resources invested. In other words, we could still possibly make it better, but the additional cost isn't really worth the additional resources, we're looking for the sweet spot. When we find the sweet spot we say GETMO, GETMO stands, and I apologize for the different languages around the world where this breaks down a little bit, but I promise you, in English it's really, really cool. GETMO stands for Good Enough to Move On, boom! I want to GETMO, somebody say GETMO. We find the sweet spot, we recognize the investment brings a significant return, we're pleased with it, we could spend more money, more time, more energy, more people power, but this is the place where we are strategically hitting the best spot, Good Enough to Move On, we're not gonna invest too much or there's diminishing return. We're recognizing this is the sweet spot, Good Enough to Move On.
In my world, I'll give you an example. In the next two months I will write and present 16 different talks based on the events that I'll do, 16 different ones on top of all of the other leadership stuff I do. If I spend about eight hours on a talk, I can get it to about 90% of the quality level. If I spend 20 hours on the talk, I can get it about to 95%. If I spend 40 hours, I can take it back down to 90%, because I overcooked it. Pastors, some of you, take it out of the oven, you're overcooking the sermon. Based on... I can't believe you're clapping. Sorry, pastors, I did not mean to throw you under the bus. I apologize and repent, please forgive me. Can't believe you all clapped for that. Gosh, love your pastor, love your pastor. Based on my schedule and what I have, I'm gonna probably spend eight to 10 hours because that's about the sweet spot, I'd love to spend more, but then I'd be wasting energy and the return wouldn't be worth it.
Somebody say GETMO. Good Enough to Move On. Perfectionist, are there any perfectionists here? Raise your hands. Perfectionists, raise your hands. The true perfectionists, you're waiting for the perfect time, when you haven't felt it yet like, "Should I raise my head? I'm not quite sure". Let me tell you what, you are great people, we love you on the team, you make amazing leaders, but you have a problem, and the problem robs you of more production. Your problem isn't that you don't care, the problem is you care too much. Here's what you need to understand, perfection is often the enemy of progress. Oh, that's so good. Perfection is often the, notice I said often. For example, if I'm having brain surgery done. That would be an exception, we're going for perfection there. But in most cases, perfection is the enemy of progress. What do we need to understand, leaders, in our organizations, the pursuit of excellence will motivate you, but the pursuit of perfection will eventually limit you. GETMO: Good Enough to Move On.
Here's a bottom line, and I hope that you'll see this, recognize it, and feel it, if we spend more on something, we aren't really making it better. If we spend more on something, we aren't really making it better, what are we making? We're making a trade, that's what we're doing. If we spend thousands of dollars to improve the quality, we're trading money for improvement, does that make sense? If we work 65 hours on a project instead of 40 hours, we're trading time with our family for improvement, that's not really better. What is better? Better is a higher return for a equal or a lower investment, we're gonna GETMO.
The second thing we're gonna do is B-T-C, what do leaders do? Leaders try to get a better return for an equal or a lower investment. Leaders, get ready for it, bend the curve. This is not really better, this is a trade. Better quality for an equal or lesser cost is actually better. What do leaders do? Leaders bend the curve. I hope you internalize this language. When someone makes a great decision and something truly does get better, "Hey, we just bent the curve. Hey, we feel stuck, we feel trapped, what are we gonna do? We're gonna look for a way to bend the curve". One of the greatest things that we do as leaders is we are managing resources, we're looking at asset allocation, we're not gonna spend too much in some place with a diminishing return, we're gonna take our resources, invest it somewhere else, we're gonna look at how we can bend the curve because leaders truly make things better. How do we do this? How do we, in our organizations, bend the curves.
I wanna give you two real practical thoughts to apply in your leadership. The first thing we're gonna do, leaders, number one, is we're gonna think inside the box, we're gonna think inside the box. "Now wait a minute, Craig, I thought we're supposed to be creative, and innovative, and think outside the box," do that every now and then, but don't necessarily start there, and let me prove it to you. The next time you have a meeting and somebody says, "Let's think outside the box," you watch as the next idea is always stupid on steroids. Every time. The problem with outside the box, listen, is there are unlimited options, is like trying to find something to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Can't figure out what to watch 'cause there's unlimited options. You get on an international flight and there's only 12 movies to choose from, and you wanna watch three of them, why? This is so important, because constraints drive creativity, constraints drive creativity.
When you have options, you have to make decisions and decisions drain your energy, you end up even living with decision fatigue. What do constraints do? Constraints eliminate options. Think inside the box, let the constraints motivate you and drive you to innovate. I'll give you an example. On January the 14th, 18 years ago, my wife gave birth to our fourth child and my first son, Sam. Every time I looked at her, she got pregnant. Every time. People asked us, "Do you know what causes that"? And we said, "Yes, we do, we figured it out finally," but we were unwilling to give it up. We have six kids, six kids. And my son Sam was born between Saturday night church and Sunday morning church, about maybe 90 minutes before the first service was gonna start on Sunday morning. We were a younger organization at the time and we didn't have, like we do now, a real strong bench of great communicators. We didn't have any options that we knew of.
Somebody said, "Let's think outside the box," and all those ideas were stupid, and so we were back into some real constraints. We've got 90 minutes before church and I could not be there. Inside of those constraints, somebody said, "Well, what if we showed the video message from the night before"? To the best of our knowledge, this was one of the first times, or at least in the first season that this had ever been done, and the next day everybody said, "Pastor Craig's not there, he's with his wife," we even showed a picture and people do what you're doing right now, you're watching the screen, and they forgot that I wasn't even there, and suddenly what happened? Because of the constraints we were able to bend the curve. Somebody say, "Bend the curve". If you take that one breakthrough and fast forward it to today.
As of last weekend, our church was able to communicate via video messages to 33 different locations in 191 worship services. That is a massive, innovative breakthrough that came not through unlimited options, but through constraints. We took constraints and we were able to bend the curve. Here's what I want you to do, and I beg you to do this. Ask yourself in your organization, where do you have tension? Where do you have a rub? Where are you hung up and you need a breakthrough? Go ahead and look inside the box, and allow the constraints to potentially drive you.
I'll give you another more recent example of this through our church. We have something that we call a Vision Night, and this is where I'll go and visit different locations, we have 33 locations in 10 states, and so a relational connection when we can get it is very, very important. The Vision Night takes place on a Thursday night and there's a very, very high investment that goes into this. It takes months to prepare for one, there's more time than I can describe that goes into it, and there's a very, very high return. There's hours and hours of preparations for me, for my team, for their team, with volunteers, it's a full-day event almost while we're there, it's travel to get back the next day, it takes up a couple of days plus the months. It goes on and on, on, on, on, and simply I cannot get to that many places that many times, there's not enough margin.
So for four years, five years, we just said, "How can we fix it? There's no way, there's no way, there's no way, there's no way, there's no way". We let the constraints drive us. We tried an experiment that came out of the the blue in the spur of a moment. I preached a Saturday night message and it was one of those messages where it just landed in a very special way, and I realized, "I don't think I can duplicate that on Sunday morning". So about 9:00 on Saturday night I said, "Why don't we just show that message everywhere tomorrow and let's just go drop in and visit a campus"? What we did in that little time, absolutely shocked us on the return. I'll show you a short video of what took place and I'll try to describe it to you.
When we walked into the building, it was totally unplanned, it was completely authentic, we were able to impact more people because it wasn't just one service on a Thursday night, but it was a first service, a second service, a third service, we were able to love on more people, we communicated that we cared about people, genuinely loved them, and there was a buzz that rocked the community. Here's what may not be clear to you, there was no preparation time for me whatsoever, no prep for their team, I was actually on the ground there, way less amount of time, I was more energized. Normally at that time, I would've been preaching somewhere else anyway, because I wasn't there it took no more time for me, suddenly, through the constraints, what did we do? We bent the curve, we didn't invest more for a better return, we invested less and we actually had a better return. No matter where you are and no matter what you're doing, those ideas are there if you have the courage to think inside the box.
Don't let your constraints cause you to fear, see them as a motivating force to innovate, and see, and do something really, really special. If you're stuck, if you are stuck, think inside the box, create constraints. How might this apply? You might say this, instead of investing $3,000 on this project, let's create a constraint and say, "What could we do with no money, but using our brains"? Instead of trying to add a campus, church leaders, "Let's add another campus". What if instead you said, "No, we're gonna add two more services where we are right now". Instead of spending six months on some project, let's say, "What if we only had two weeks? What could we get done"? You might be shocked at just how powerful the return is.
If you can tolerate my spiritual side for a minute, because no matter what, I still wake up every day, and I'm a pastor, what I would say to you from a spiritual perspective is this. I believe that you have everything you need to do everything you're supposed to do. The reason I believe this is there's actually a verse in the Bible that says something like this, that you have everything you need for life and godliness, you have everything you need. I do not think, from my perspective, that our God is in heaven going, "Let's just jack with them. Let's not give them what they need just to make them miserable". No, no, no, no, no. In fact, preachers, we have these little sayings, I don't know if you ever heard a preacher, we got 'em everywhere, we got 'em for every season, every occasion.
There's a preacher saying that goes like this, "God guides by what he provides". Mm, that's so good. If you're really good preacher, you say it like this, "God guides by what he provides," if you're really good, obviously I'm not that good, but you've seen some that can pull this off. I would say that, yes, God often guides by what he provides, I would also suggest to you that God also guides by what he withholds. Ooh, God often may withhold something that you think that you want, to help you see something that you would not see otherwise. I would suggest God often guides by what he withholds. There's a powerful story of this in scripture, when there was a guy that was unable to walk, sitting by a gate called Beautiful, begging for money, a guy named Peter walked by and the beggar said, "Give me some money, give me some money," and Peter looked at this guy and he said, "I don't have any money, silver and gold I do not have, but what I have, I give you," then Peter prayed for this guy, God did a miracle, and the guy was able to walk.
Don't miss this, if Peter had had what the guy wanted, money, he may not have given the guy what he needed, the power of a miracle, and it was the constraint that actually led through to a breakthrough. Embrace your limitations, embrace them. If you had everything you wanted, you might miss what you really needed. Think inside the box, GETMO, Good Enough to Move On. What are we doing? We're bending the curve. The first thing we do to bend the curve is we think inside the box, the second thing we're gonna do, leaders, is we're gonna burn the ships, we're gonna burn the ships. This is a phrase, if you don't know, from Hernan Cortez, who led an expedition to Veracruz, Mexico. The story goes, on his arrival, his crew was so exhausted, they were so discouraged, they wanted to quit and go home. This may be where some of you are right now, you came to this conference and you don't know if you have what it takes, you don't know if you can lead through the next level, you don't know if you can overcome the problem that you're facing right now or endure the attack that you are under.
Legend says that Cortez said, "Burn the ships," in other words, eliminate the options to turn back. Leaders, step into your position and commit to whatever the vision, the assignment, the task is, whatever it is you're called to do, compelled to do, to accomplish, to achieve, commit to it and sell out. No excuses, no retreat, no turning back. I'll give you a couple of examples of how that type of passion enabled us to bend the curve. There's really only a few things that I love in my life, I'm madly in love with my bride, and I apologize you have to hear about it all the time, but she's just worthy of praise, she's that good. Love my bride, love my kids. I can't express how amazing and blessed I am. I am compelled to reach people. I was a guy that grew up going to church that didn't understand the message behind it, and so when my life was changed, I can't stop. It's just, I want everyone to know the good news that changed my life, I'm compelled to reach people.
The third thing is a lot of people don't understand, especially from a pastor, but I am just driven with everything in me to build leaders. To me it's like it's spiritual, it's a calling. Building leaders isn't something I do, it's who I am, and I'm driven to it, but I only have so much time, and I'm not compromising my time with my family, and I've got a calling to the church, and so I really want to build leaders, but I can't go out and invest face-to-face time and do conferences all over the world, I've got a limited amount of time for that. So we start to look at it and say, "How can we think inside the box, and how can we let this passion drive us"? And suddenly I had an idea, and didn't know if anyone would even care, but I'd just sit at a microphone at my desk and talk for 20 minutes at a time, and so we started a leadership podcast maybe three years ago or so, and instead of going out and talking to 500 people, or 700, or 80 people at a time, now, from my desk, I'm honored to talk to about 1.3 million people will download something every single month.
What just happened? What happened is we bent the curve, no travel, no time away from the family, much, much less investment. This is not an increasing cost for return, this is less cost, and the quality of the impact goes way, way up. Bend the curve, sell out to it, don't say, "Well, I can't do this," and let your excuses drive you to stop. When you're compelled to do something, figure out a way, don't give up. Another example for us, we're compelled to reach people and we'll use everything, we love to use technology to reach people, and so years back we had a theory that we were watching the way relationships were going, that people connect online. We started what, to the best of our knowledge, was the world's first church online. This is not just where you stream one way, this is ongoing conversation with live pastors, with live language translations so people from all over the world can ask questions, receive prayer, engage in the message.
What's amazing is people actually talk more online than they often do in the lobby, and it's really, really powerful. The problem was we knew there was unlimited potential to reach people, but we weren't really reaching a lot of people. We believed in it, we knew there had to be a way. Burn the ships, keep trying. We tried different things and finally we had an idea, we'll buy Google AdWords, purchase Google AdWords, and so if someone types in "Church online," a Google AdWord would come up that says, "Searching for church online? Try church online, click right here". The reason that somebody giggled over here is because you would think now, like we should have thought, nobody's looking for church online, nobody.
So we were in a meeting, saying, "We have to reach people, I think this is a good idea but we're slightly off," and somebody said, "What are people searching for online"? And some interns said, "Well, a lot of people I know are searching for sex online". So we bought Google AdWords, if somebody types in "Sex online," an ad pops up that says, "Searching for sex online? Why not try church online"? And you would not believe the high percentage of people that click through. Imagine, "Sex online, church on". Bend the curve, burn the ships, sell out, think inside the box, let your constraints drive you, motivate you, sell out for your mission, your vision, and don't, for a minute, tell me what you can't do, don't give me those excuses, "Well, I'm just too young". Listen, that's just your excuse today, because in a few years you're gonna be too old and you're gonna feel that then, that's just your current excuse, there's always one. I don't know when I was just right, for like 20 years I was too young, now I feel too old, when was I just right? It must have been like at 3:00 p.m. when I was 42 on January 9th or something, I don't know, it just came and went, nobody told me when it was there.
Listen to me, if you're older and you're not dead - you're not done, you're still here, you have an assignment, don't tell me what you can't do, what you're not, what you don't have. Here, leader, leaders, here's what I want you to tell me, tell me what you're called to do and why it matters. What are you called to do? What are you about, and why does it matter? And I promise you this, with everything in me, that if you commit to the what, and are consumed by your why, you will figure out the how. Internalize it, you have everything you need to do. If you're consumed with it, "This is our calling, this is our mission, this is what we're doing," and you understand why it matters, the great people around you will figure out a way, there's always a way.
This is incredibly emotional to me because it was at this event years ago that my life was changed, completely changed. I was a young pastor and I never saw myself as a leader, I thought that was a business term, and when I recognized that I could use the leadership gifts to make a difference, it changed everything about the way we do everything. What I need you need you to understand is, I have the same excuses you do, I have the same voices now that tell me why I'm not good enough. Let me tell you how much I'm not good enough, when I went through ordination in the state of Oklahoma, I was the only pastor turned down for ordination, the only one turned down, "Your ideas are too weird, you don't have the gifts of a normal pastor". I got in my red Geo Prizm and cried all the way home, partially because I was in a red Geo Prizm, but mostly cried all the way home.
And the voices that I hear, the negative ones, are probably the ones similar to the ones you hear, "You're not gonna figure it out, you're not good enough, you're past your prime, the problem's too big to solve, you can't get it done, who do you think you are? They're not gonna listen to you, you're not the right, whatever, you don't have the right education, you don't have their respect," and those voices. So what I do before I speak, and if you watch carefully today, you will see it, or if you ever come to watch me speak live, I do something every time, and it's very, very special to me, I take one big, significant step forward, and what I'm telling myself is "I'm stepping out of my doubts, I'm stepping away from those negative voices, I'm stepping away from the insecurity that I have," and I'm embarrassed to tell you just how incredibly insecure I am, and what I am doing is I'm stepping into the calling, I'm stepping into the authority, believing that at this moment, as unworthy as I feel, I've been chosen to impart faith and inspire you to believe that you can do more.
Step out of the fears, step out of the doubts, step out of the insecurity and step into the calling. Listen to me, there's some of you, you are one step away from leading your organization to where it's supposed to go. You're one step away from believing that you have what it takes, you're one step away from the posture that creates respect, from the vision-casting that draws people who will join you, you're one step away. Leaders, step into it, step into it, bend the curve in your own mind, change how you see yourself, recognize you don't have to know at all, you don't have to be perfect, but you've been chosen for this moment, step into it. Don't obsess about things that don't matter, GETMO, Good Enough to Move On. Take your valuable resources and invest it somewhere else. Don't just spend more always hoping for better, bend the curve, that's what we do, we bend the curve, we as leaders make things better. Step into it.
Leaders, you have everything you need to do everything you're called to do. I'm gonna say it again because I know somebody here is gonna wanna cheer 'cause you're gonna believe this deep down. You have everything you need to do everything that you are called to do. Every time you face a problem, an obstacle in your business, in your ministry, in your nonprofit, decide, "This is not a problem, this is an opportunity to bend the curve, this is an opportunity begging for an innovation, for a creative idea that truly makes things better". So what are you gonna do? You're gonna GETMO, you're gonna think inside the box, you're gonna embrace your limitations, you're gonna sell out, you're gonna bet the farm, you're gonna go all in, you are not going to retreat. Leaders, GETMO, step into it, bend the curve, make it better, help people, add value, increase market share, create jobs, solve problems, meet needs, make a difference, offer hope and change the world because that is what great leaders do.