Practical Proverbial, from Ruth, 2 April 2014

Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”  “I will redeem it,” he said.  Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, thedead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”  Ruth 4, verses 2-5.

Spell things out.   Don’t operate from a hidden agenda.   Where possible, lay your cards on the table.   Yes, these are more management clichés.   They’re effective.

This week, my project in Minnesota got dealt a harsh blow.   In fact, all ICD10 projects in the country were dealt a blow.   Some smart guy in Congress attached an amendment to the annual SGR bill that funds the Medicare gap.   That amendment delayed ICD10 for at least a year, much to the happiness of the snarky Congressman, his lobbyist friends, and the lobbyist’s sponsoring group.   Much to your dismay, it means that your already expensive health insurance and healthcare costs will increase more so that insurance companies and hospitals can pass this write-off cost on to you as soon as possible.  Those cards are on the table now for you to read.

Just like the things I’ve spent the last few days telling my team.   Something is going to change on our project but we don’t know what because our sponsors haven’t had sufficient time to digest this change and decide on an appropriate response.  What our team leadership is doing is communicating as plainly and honestly.   We can’t make commitments or promises we aren’t authorized to make; we can’t guarantee things when we don’t know what even the simple ramifications of the change will be.   Yet people are (rightfully) worried about their jobs, and their worries are our responsibility, myself and the other project leaders.

The best thing we can do is what Boaz did:   confront the issues, take them to the people affected, and spell things out plainly and simply.  There isn’t some ‘I’ve got a secret’ game to win, and while knowledge may be power, that power is only granted to those who must not abuse it.  The best way to alleviate peoples’ worries is to tell them the score and listen.  

Lord, help me be Your instrument to help others face tough situations.   Put the words in my heart – and on my lips – then teach me to listen and help this way too.


Read Ruth 4.

What message is God giving you today?

What can you do to help others understand that message?




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