Source 2

Personal Ability: Surpass Your Limits

In part 1 we talked about how to influence someone’s personal motivation which is a big step. However, it might not be motivation they are lacking. In the past we have talked about the fundamental attribution error. We see that home teaching is not getting done so we conclude it is because the quorum members do not WANT to do it or they are lazy. What if in reality they do not know HOW to do home teaching?

Imagine teaching someone with no experience how to play basketball by simply telling them, “All you need to do is take this round ball and put it in that basket” You then sub them in during an intense church ball game and wonder why they are not “putting the round ball into the basket.”  It is easy to see home teaching as a very basic task that does not need practice. “All you need to do is take this list of names and start fellowshipping!” Some need very little direction, but others would be no better off than the rookie basketball player.

When a leader recognizes someone with a lack of ability we generally solve the problem by putting them with a companion that always gets it done. Unfortunately there is only a limited number of Brother Go-get-em so you cannot rely on such a plan.

The wonderful authors of Influencer: The Power to Change Anything teach us a few principles that we can apply to home teaching.

Deliberate Practice
Going back to the example of our rookie basketball player. You would not simply tell him to throw the ball at the basket until he learns the fundamentals of shooting. You would show him where to place his hands on the basketball, how to keep his arm straight, and his elbow in. This is DELIBERATE practice. The fundamentals are important in basketball and home teaching. The fundamentals in basketball may include—Keeping shooting arm straight, aiming for the back of the rim, using the back board for lay-ups. The fundamentals in home teaching include—Calling each family before the 5th of the month, praying before each home teaching appointment, preparing a lesson for each appointment, acknowledging assigned families during church, etc. When you meet with each quorum member it is important to ask questions that will determine if they understand the fundamentals of home teaching.

EQP: Why did you only visit half of your assigned families this past month?

Brother Fiddypercent: I called very few before the 5th of the month. I’m sure that was a factor.

This is a good response. However, if Brother Fiddypercent gave a response that was two general, “I just didn’t get around to it” or “I don’t know, I’ll do better next month” it is more difficult to help resolve the issue because focus is not on the fundamentals. Continue asking questions until the quorum member sees the fundamentals that are lacking.

Provide Immediate Feedback
Once the quorum member knows how to practice the fundamentals he then needs feedback. This again shows the dramatic need for monthly home teaching interviews. (See here) By giving them constant feedback it keeps them accountable and persistent. “So tell me what happened when you called the Johnson’s on the 5th of the month? Did it work? What do you think you need to do next month?” Even professional basketball players are receiving immediate feedback on their fundamentals—so should home teachers.

Break Mastery into Mini Goals
What do you think would happen if you changed the way you recorded home teaching? Instead of calling each companionship at the end of the month to gather a report of whom was home TAUGHT– what if you called each companionship on the 10th to see whom they have CALLED. There are many ways to break the goal of home teaching into mini goals. Who did they call? Who did they say hello to during church? Whose door did they knock on?


Remember, focusing on personal ability is just one of six sources of influence that need to be considered. You are not going to solve home teaching just by focusing on personal ability. Once we review each of the six sources of influence it will be clear how personal ability fits in to find the solution.

Read part 3>>>

Solving Home Teaching Through the Six-Source Model is a series of posts based off of the book Influencer: The Power to Change Anything.

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