Behind What’s Best Next is a God-centered philosophy of productivity. What is that philosophy? Here is a short summary of what it is—and why we need it.
Why Does the Gospel Need to Inform Our Productivity?
Christianity is not just about how we are saved; it’s an entire worldview. It’s an entire way of seeing the world and going about life. There is no sacred/secular dichotomy, but all of live is to be lived as a unified whole before God.
And so the gospel, which is the heart of Christianity, is to affect everything we do—which includes our productivity. We do not have a choice!
Knowing how the gospel affects our work is especially important because God’s chief means of operating in the world is through Christians engaged in the world, including (and especially) the workplace. So if we do not know how to work in a gospel-centered way, we will not have the impact on the culture God calls us to. We will either fall into thinking that God only cares about evangelism at work (not the work itself) or we will seal our faith off from our work and not let it play any role at all.
How, then, does it affect our work, productivity, and leadership? That’s a question which is often overlooked—and we are here to fill that gap.
What is Gospel-Driven Productivity?
Gospel-Driven Productivity (GDP) is an approach to getting things done with the gospel at the center. It answers the question: how does the gospel affect our productivity, how do we work in a way that is honoring to God, and what are the best methods for being effective?
At root, it means that our productivity should be driven by love for God and others, instead of simply the desire to gain our own peace of mind and success.
In other words, for the gospel to affect our work and productivity means at least two things: it becomes the motive for all that we do, and it shapes the way we do it by showing us the characteristics and values that are to govern all that we do.
This creates radical differences in how we go about our work, since it means we will seek the flourishing of others even more than ourselves, that we will always seek to do things with a win-win mentality, and that we will be willing to make things harder on ourselves in order to make them easier on others.
What Are the Core Principles of Gospel-Driven Productivity?
There are four chief principles of Gospel-Driven Productivity:
- Don’t seek your identity in your work, but in Christ.
- Live out Christ’s command to love your neighbor in the workplace. This includes humanizing work and establishing people-oriented policies that reflect respect for workers, trust in them, and a governing principle of minimizing the burden on people rather than being first and foremost concerned about making things easier on the organization.
- Take a transformational, rather than merely transactional, approach to leadership and productivity. This means that rather than seeing tasks and people in tension, we seek to build people up in the accomplishment of tasks. Management is not simply getting things done through others, but developing people as we get the tasks done.
- Don’t be merely devotional in your approach to productivity, but use the best strategies and tactics. This includes learning all we can from the best secular thinkers and research. This is also an opportunity to live out our faith in the culture by building on their ideas rather than merely critiquing them, which is one of the best ways to create culture in a way that shows respect for unbelievers and thus creates a more winsome and compelling testimony to the gospel.
Our Method: Affirming Theological Implications and Common Grace
And so all of the teaching and training we do on effectiveness and leadership is from a theologically-driven, gospel-centered perspective.
At the same time, this does not mean we dismiss the best secular thinking or think it is irrelevant because it wasn’t developed on the basis of explicitly Christian principles. To do so would seem rather prideful to us, and would be neglecting God’s good and very real gift of common grace.
And so we hold to an integrated model, which means we believe that the Bible is the only final authority for what we are to believe and do, but that secular research provides important and valid insights that ought to inform our strategies, tactics, and methodologies.
The Process of Gospel-Driven Productivity
You see the teachings of the Scriptures on our motives and purposes integrated with the best time management strategies and tactics in the four components of the GDP process:
- Define: determining your mission, values, and vision.
- Architect: determining your roles, goals, and ideal week.
- Review and reduce: eliminate the unnecessary and choose your tasks.
- Execute: make things happen with discipline and focus.
This model is summarized in the book What’s Best Next, and we help equip you in it through the resources on this site. We also help you apply it through coaching and training workshops and courses—which we also seek to base on the best research from leading thinkers and institutions.
Our Approach to Coaching and Instructional Design
When it comes to our approach to coaching, we are especially influenced by the Columbia University coaching model. We help you understand and apply the principles and practices of Gospel-Driven Productivity using a proven methodology based on research. We take you through the phases of context, content, and conduct.
In our instructional design (courses, webinars, workshops, and so forth), we seek to keep in mind how adults learn and design our offerings in a way that aligns with those principles.
One of the most important tools for teaching in a way that helps adults truly learn the material is the O-R-I-D, which summarizes the learning cycle. The four stages are:
- Objective: the information you are presenting.
- Reflective: connecting the content to your experience.
- Interpretive: asking how this information sheds light on various issues.
- Decisional: determining what changes you will make in light of these insights.
It is important to take the participants through all four stages so that they can truly learn and remember the material. In contrast, many approaches simply take people through the first step, the Objective stage (the content), which reduces learning to mere information transfer. That is why so many attempts at teaching have limited results. Learning is about transformation, and all four stages of the ORID are essential.
What Are the Results of Gospel-Driven Productivity?
As we are productive in a gospel-centered way—acting from love in a way that truly benefits the other person, whether they are a colleague, our boss, or the customer—the light of the gospel shines through our words and deeds. The result, according to Ephesians 5, is that people are served and some people will even come to faith.
And so there is a dual result of (and purpose to) GDP: people are served and the gospel advances. Best of all, these two goals are related, for it is through serving others effectively that the gospel advances.
How? Because serving others well in our work gives credibility to our profession of faith and shows people more clearly what God is like. When coupled with natural, appropriate, and winsome (as opposed to pushy and high-pressure) mentions of Christ and his work, these two things together—verbal testimony to Christ and actions that demonstrate his character, done not only in a volunteer capacity but in the very work of our jobs—are how God’s power works to bring more people to faith.