“I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.”

~”One talent man”, Parable of the Talents

The context of this parable is as follows.  A master entrusted three of his servants with money.  Two of them invest and multiply, the third buries the money and returns only what he was given.  Without being asked, this “one talent man” defends his decision with the quote at the beginning.

This shows the resourcefulness of the master.  The master optimizes what he has and expects others to do the same.  Do you expect other’s to optimize resources when asked?  Do you help others optimize their resources?  As a leader, it’s what you’re called to do.

Not willing to lift a finger

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.  They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finder to move them.  Everything they do is done for men to see:  They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men all them ‘Rabbi.’

– Jesus; Matthew 23:2-7

As a leader, how often do you create something you yourself are not willing to do?Assigning a tedious task to a direct report, or an impossible challenge to a new team.  You lay the groundwork of your vision, only to pass it off and say “get it done.”  Who wants to follow this person?

This mindset is easy to hide in large companies… and it’s toxic.  Without the cover of tens/hundreds/thousands of employees, you may be outed as “all talk.”  Next time you challenge a team, ensure you’re willing to help solve that challenge when the team asks.

Target pressure

In public companies, difficult times lead to increased aptitude for reaching difficult targets. Who are the gatekeepers in this situation?  Is it the finance team? Accountants/controllers?  The operating team?  The answer is everyone. The important questions to ask… if you plan to report revenue on your income statement… is it certain? Is there cash? Will I have to reverse this at some point?  The answers to these questions point to the right answer.