Inspect What You Expect
Have you ever noticed that it is MUCH easier to give out an ‘instruction’ or a ‘threat’ or a ‘plan’ than it is to follow through with it? Have you ever noticed that talking about something is something anybody can do and is just plain simpler than actually doing it? In other words, did you know that the phrase “Talk is cheap” is true?
It’s true if you own a company. It’s true if you are married. It’s true if you have friends. It’s true if you pastor a church. It’s true if you lead a staff. It’s true if you are a dad. It’s much easier to talk about it than to just do it.
Last Saturday morning my parents were on their way for a quick visit to Arkansas. I would say they were coming to visit their favorite of their three children, but that wouldn’t be true. They were coming to visit their favorite 2 of their 9 grandchildren. Seth was up early and all decked out in his Auburn football uniform (complete with helmet and pads) before breakfast. He couldn’t wait to show it off to the 2nd biggest Auburn fan in the world (my dad).
Fifteen minutes or so before my folks were scheduled to arrive, Seth’s area of the house was still a disaster zone. Katie had asked him at least twice throughout the morning to clean up specific things. As I walked through the house, I noticed that he was NOT doing what he had been asked to do by his mom. So I proceeded to take him into his room, get down on eye level with him, and let him know what would happen if he didn’t clean up immediately: a spanking to the posterior part of his body AND he would have to remove his football uniform and save it for another time. I then walked outside to finish vacuuming the car (did you know that you can find several weeks worth of breakfast items in between seats?).
Five or ten minutes later this phrase popped into my head: “Inspect what you Expect.” Ever heard it? It means to always go and inspect what you expect to be done. You know what though? I didn’t want to. I just wanted to threaten Seth with discipline. I didn’t want to actually carry it out. Know what I mean? I didn’t want to go back inside. I didn’t want to have to get all ‘parental’ on Seth. I didn’t want to have to spank him. I didn’t want to tell him he had to take off his Auburn uniform. I just wanted to talk.
But I went. I back went in to inspect his progress. Guess what I found? A totally cleaned up den and a near spotless bedroom! Know what I got to do next? Praise him! Encourage him! Brag on him! It felt so good to see him clean up.
Here’s the thing: Had I not ‘Inspected what I Expected,’ I never would have had the opportunity to go in and specifically praise his ‘work’ and ‘obedience.’ It would have happened and I probably would have never noticed once my parents got to our house. On the flip side, had he not ‘obeyed’ and ‘worked’ and had I not ‘gone’ and ‘inspected,’ he would have gotten away with it and learned that I don’t follow through with what I say I am going to do.
Bottom Line: Talk is cheap. Anybody can threaten. If you want a specific result from someone under your care and leadership, however, go and inspect what you expect. Who knows? You might get to experience a blessing.
What have you requested or instructed to be done that you need to go and check on? Don’t wait until you feel like it. Then you will just be like everyone else.