Every leader must learn to navigate the quantity, quality, time continuum. Understanding this grand trilemma makes all the difference in if your team can trust you to deliver and help move key initiatives forward. 

Quantity = the amount of work produced. 

Quality = the standard of work produced. 

Time = the delivery of work produced. 

When I was younger I thought the more I did, the better I would look to the organization. In many ways it was driven by both a desire to achieve and a deeper insecurity that if I didn’t do enough I would be out of a job. The problem with more is that the quality of work I produced was far from great. It tended to be last minute, driven not by procrastination but by over committing tendencies. 

For a while I started saying ‘no’ and only focusing on a two things and saw my quality improve immensely. I had time and space to dream, think, create and it was glorious. But I watched several things around me begin to derail and I didn’t do a thing. I wasn’t helping build the church, I was only building my thing. Not my finest hour. 

I’ve had moments when my quantity was way too high forcing my quality and timeliness to be below standard. I’ve had moments when quality and time were strong, but my quantity was below standard. I’m learning that the greatest most self aware leaders have this formula down. The right quantity where they have the right amount of time to create the best quality of work possible. 

Living in the Midwest I’m beginning to realize the gift of seasons. Each season is an invitation to reflect on what was and what is to come. This past season, one of my mentors called me out saying that my quantity was off the charts, but he saw areas where my quality was suffering. He began asking questions about my schedule and it became clear that I was saying “yes” to way too much. Inside I wanted to become defensive and start blaming others but I knew he was right. 

Awareness is a gift – it pulls back the curtain, zooming out and allowing us the chance to see a more full, more honest and clear picture of reality. These profoundly holy moments help you see that another way is available. I spent a morning listening, praying, reflecting and came to see two false truths rising within: 

  1. My worth was directly connected to the quantity of work I was getting done. 
  2. I was afraid to say ‘no’

The honest and human thing beneath the thing that the Spirit paraded before me was my insatiable desire to achieve. I needed to reframe the story, not to shame myself for how I’m wired but (to) refocus (my energy) in a more kingdom-oriented fashion. And so it begins. Learning again to navigate the quantity, quality, time trilemma…

Where are you this season with this? Is there one leading the pack? Or have you found a good groove where you have the right amount of each?