Bringing Out Their Best, Part Two

We all have days during which we feel as though we are running at full speed from the moment the alarm goes off in the morning till the time we stumble into bed late that night. These are the days of deadlines to meet, tasks to accomplish, meetings to lead, and … the list goes on and on.

Do we ever stop to think that our busyness might actually be dangerous?

Busyness can be dangerous, because it causes us to focus on pressing problems rather than on priorities. When that happens, we can miss strategic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities – like developing the leaders on our teams toward their highest potential.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Clarity First by Karen Martin

Award-winning business performance improvement and Lean management expert Karen Martin diagnoses a ubiquitous business management and leadership problem―the lack of clarity―and outlines specific actions to dramatically improve organizational performance.

Through her global consulting projects, keynote speeches, and work with thousands of leaders, Karen has seen first-hand how a pervasive lack of clarity strangles business performance and erodes employee engagement. Ambiguity is the corporate default state, a condition so prevalent that “tolerance for ambiguity” has become a clichéd job requirement.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In Clarity First, Karen provides methods and insights for achieving clarity to unleash potential, innovate at higher levels, and solve the problems that matter to deliver outstanding business results. Both a visionary road map and practical guide, this book will help leaders:

  • Identify and communicate the organization’s true purpose
  • Set achievable priorities
  • Deliver greater customer value through more efficient processes
  • Build organization-wide problem solving capabilities
  • Develop personal clarity to become a more direct, purposeful, and successful leader

Eliminating ambiguity is the first step for leaders and organizations to achieve strategic goals. Learn how to gain the clarity needed to make better decisions, lead more effectively, and boost organizational performance.

When it comes to leading an outstanding organization, every great leader needs Clarity First.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Processes, in their broadest meaning, are a series of actions, changes, or functions that are strung together to produce a result.

They combine human and physical resources in various ways to produce different outcomes. A car is produced using a process that combines parts and labor in specific sequences on an assembly line. An appendectomy is performed using a process that combines medical staff and an operating room in a sequence of actions. All organizations can be thought of as a collection of processes. A process delivers a result. That is, it delivers an output, such as a product or service.

Think of process as a railroad engine. If the engine does not run properly, it does not matter how friendly the conductor acts or how attractive the passenger cars look, the train will still not move and the passengers will not pay their fares.

Process is the engine of clarity.

Everything a business does – in fact, everything in life – occurs as a result of processes. Yet few leaders overtly advocate for process to the extent needed for clarity.

I would argue that one of the most high-impact activities for a leader is to understand and improve the processes under his control.

The degree of detail that an individual needs about the processes that make work happen throughout the organization differs depending on the level at which he or she operates.

Clarity by itself does not make outstanding processes, but no process can reach outstanding levels without absolute clarity in its design, execution, and management.

Well-managed processes are:

  • Documented. Not only are the process steps captured, but so are the descriptions of how the work should be performed within each step.
  • Current. The documentation reflects the way the work should be performed today, not how it was performed last month.
  • Followed. Team members have been trained in the process, and adhere to it until the process is improved.
  • Consistently monitored. Process performance is measured against relevant key performance indicators.
  • Regularly improved. Processes that consistently meet KPI targets are analyzed to identify performance gaps with the goal of setting new, more aggressive targets, and identify process changes necessary to meet them.

Karen Martin, Clarity First

A NEXT STEP

Begin your journey toward greater process clarity in one area of your organization. Work on the processes in that area to learn about and improve your training methods for designing, documenting, training, measuring, and improving them.

Use the following six steps to guide your development of processes:

  • Identify and select the problem to be worked on
  • Analyze the problem
  • Generate potential solutions
  • Select and plan the best solution
  • Implement the solution
  • Evaluate the solution

Once you have identified a solution and find that it works, continue to use it, evaluating it periodically as needed, replacing it completely when it no longer works.

Pay close attention to the results you reap from greater clarity.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 96-2, issued July 2018.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

Each issue SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> > Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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COMMENTS

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Exceptional Guest Experience, Part 2: PROCESS

At Auxano, we’ve walked with more than 500 churches through a process called the Guest Perspective Evaluation. And when they’re done, they all ask, “What’s next?”

Amazingly, most church leaders don’t actually have a plan they can use to improve their Guest Experience!

Ask them about their strategy and you’ll discover it boils down to this:

We’ll be friendlier.

It’s understandable. Church leaders are too busy on the weekend to actually understand what Guests see – and experience – to really know how to make things better. After all, your church is “friendly,” right? And that is all you need to have a good Guest Experience.

But why settle for good?

An exceptional Guest Experience ministry doesn’t have to be complicated. We recommend you execute on just three things:

  1. Place
  2. Process
  3. People

Focusing on these three things will allow you to welcome first time Guests, welcome back returning Guests, and create a culture of hospitality within your church that extends your ministry beyond your walls.

The catch?

Each of these three elements shares one requirement: paying attention to details.

It’s impossible to have an exceptional Guest Experience unless you pay attention to details.

Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Orlando, FL, April 3-4.

The PROCESS you use to welcome Guests

THE QUICK SUMMARYDisney U, by Doug Lipp

In helping Walt Disney create “The Happiest Place on Earth,” Van France and his team started a business revolution in 1955 that eventually became the Disney University—the employee training and development program that powers one of the most famous brands on earth.

Disney U examines how Van France’s timeless company values and leadership expertise have turned into a training and development dynasty: the Disney U. The book reveals the heart of the Disney Culture and describes the company’s values and operational philosophies that support the world-famous Disney brand.

Doug Lipp is an internationally acclaimed expert on customer service, leadership, change management and global competitiveness, specializing in the lessons he learned at the Disney U.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Walt Disney knew that the key to delivering a great experience in a living movie setting like Disneyland meant designing defect-free processes and flawlessly repeating them. However, the setting of Disneyland itself – having different “lands” requiring different sets of operations, maintenance, cast members, and a myriad of other details – became complicated very quickly.

The same thing happens at your church: the enemy of your Guest Experience is complexity.

Walt Disney was able to work out a solution, and that solution can be instructive for your church, too.

Providing the Happiest Place on Earth means that cast members must manage a delicate balance of priorities; without clarity, the task becomes overwhelming.

As Disneyland exploded onto the scene in 1955, Disney Guest Experience pioneers Van France and Dick Nunis recognized the challenge. In response, they simplified the inherently complex environment of a theme park by providing every cast member with crystal-clear marching orders during his or her Disney University orientation.

Dick Nunis came up with a program which, at the time, was a totally new concept for operations. The four elements of theme park operations were listed in order of their importance.

Van France

Simple service standards can be powerful tools in any organization.

What happens when a child at a Disney Park drops a Mickey ice cream bar?

  • Is it tough luck for the unhappy child?
  • What about the sticky mess on the busy sidewalk?
  • How would you handle a tired, irate parent?
  • What’s the impact on the bottom line?

There’s not an easy answer for the situation above – or for the tens of thousands of other daily occurrences that happen in a Disney theme park. But somehow most front-line Cast Members manage to take care of situations quickly in ways that keep the Guests happy.

How do you train cast members to handle whatever may come up in a normal – or not so normal – day in the park?

 

The recipe for creating and repeating the magical environment at Disneyland involved boiling down park operations into four priorities that represent the values driving every decision made by front-line Cast Members.

At the time, these four priorities, known as “the Four Keys,” were a totally new concept for operating a complex organization like a theme park. Listed in order of importance, they are:

  • Safety – The most important priority for Guests and cast members. Cast members must often protect Guests from themselves! Guests distracted by the beautiful architecture may walk into lampposts and walls. Every operations and design decision must first address safety.
  • Courtesy – The second most important priority after safety is courtesy. Cast members know the value of the smiles on their faces and in their voices and the importance of engaging Guests. A lack of cast member courtesy will poison the safest and most interesting environment.
  • Show – Once safety and courtesy are assured, attention turns to show. Well-maintained attractions and facilities populated by well-groomed cast members ensure good show, a condition Walt Disney passionately promoted.
  • Efficiency – This last priority refers to the number of Guests enjoying the attractions, restaurants, and retail shops. This is the “hard numbers” portion of a business. By placing numbers last, the SCSE model makes a clear, somewhat paradoxical statement: accomplishing the first three priorities ensures that this fourth one is sustainable in the form of happy and loyal cast members and Guests.

Disney’s Four Keys serve as a compass for creating happiness and serving others. More than five decades after they were created, these Four Keys continue to serve as the foundation for everything Disney does. Any organization would be envious to have several key standards stand that test of time. It is at the heart of what has made Disney the powerful name it is today.

Doug Lipp, Disney U

A NEXT STEP

Simple service standards can be powerful tools in any organization. By establishing a framework of values from which every team member operates, they have a sense of ownership and purpose. The use of standards creates a consistent image across the entire organization.

At a future team meeting, reproduce this SUMS Remix, and ask your team to read this entire section. As a team, discuss the following questions,

Simplify the Complex

  • How are complex operations and processes communicated in your organization?
  • Are priorities succinct and memorable?
  • How are complex and vital procedures and priorities communicated in your organization?

It’s All about the Basics

  • How do you help team members understand standard operating procedures and priorities?
  • Are team members actively involved as change agents, or do they wait for direction?
  • Are policies followed? If not, why not?

Great Trainers Transfer Knowledge

  • How does your training staff leverage experience from one area to another?
  • What do you do to encourage interactions with Guests and attendees?

Making Your Standard Manageable

  • What is your organization’s equivalent of the Four Keys?
  • Can your team member manual be simplified?
  • What are your priorities? Can you summarize your standard operating procedures and priorities, regardless of complexity, with memorable phrases or acronyms?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 72-2, August 2017.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> > Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

 


 

Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp in Cincinnati, OH on August 7-8.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

You Are What You Do: How Process Drives Culture

In organizations I have coached over the years, there is a common belief that business processes and work culture are separate, distinct things. While they are indeed different sides of a coin, I believe they are inextricably related. In fact, I believe they both affect each other, in a sort of chicken-and-egg relationship.

One question many leaders ask is, “How do I improve the culture?” Asking this question without also looking at your processes may not yield the right answer. And before we can dig into how to improve our processes or culture, we must define what we mean by those terms.

Defining the Terms

A process is a series of steps executed by people to achieve a result. Often times, those steps have dependencies on each other or on time. For example, when making coffee, it is important to put the coffee in the filter, then turn on the flow of water. To do it backwards creates a mess, not coffee. In addition, some of the coffee-making steps have a dependency on time. It is not a good idea to finish all the steps of making coffee the night before. The coffee gets cold and stale overnight.

Work culture is the environment, communication, and behaviors that intrinsically reward (or don’t) the processes we want. Of course, the concept of culture is tougher to define. It is even more difficult to define your specific work culture. You might hear comments like ‘people are so nice here’ or ‘the culture is so great,  it’s like family’ or ‘the work was fine, but I couldn’t stand the culture’. What do your people do or say that gets them more freedom, more respect, a pat on the back, a round of applause at the staff meeting? That is your culture, regardless of whether that is what you want it to be.

Is Your Leadership Reinforcing the Culture You Want?

Because it is so difficult to define culture, it is extremely challenging to improve it directly. Rather than chasing this enigma, I suggest improving the processes we use to get work done and focus on the cultural implications that result. When people think of process improvement, the first idea is making something more efficient and trimming a few minutes off a task. While that can be helpful, I am talking more about focusing on the leadership and communication around processes.

Does the way you lead processes create the culture you want? If so, you are way ahead of the game — keep it up! Here are a few examples of inconsistencies I have seen over the years.

  • Safety is #1. I worked in a refinery years ago to improve safety processes and culture. Their safety record was pretty poor and they were suitably concerned. They were doing all the typical things, like hanging up posters touting safety, starting meetings with a safety discussion, even checking workers’ protective equipment and spending money to upgrade it. However, these processes were not creating the desired result because their leadership decisions did not reinforce the ‘safety is #1’ idea. In fact, the joke among the staff was, “Safety is number one, right after production and profit.” This was the result of leaders in the organization routinely making decisions to put people at risk in the name of keeping the machines running. Each decision seemed reasonable or even innocuous on its own, but the theme created a culture that rewarded putting people at risk for production.
  • We hire creative self-starters. Go online and read job postings and you will find an abundance of descriptions of how they want to hire self starters, independent workers, disciplined people, and on and on. That sounds great. Do those organizations then reinforce those qualities, or stifle them through approvals, bureaucracy, punishing mistakes, or rewarding ‘getting it right’? Creativity and the like inherently mean making mistakes and taking risks that sometimes don’t pay off. If we punish mistakes and reward perfection, then we are likely saying one thing and culturally reinforcing the opposite.
  • I don’t micromanage. Staff and managers alike do not enjoy an environment of micromanagement where every move requires approval and checking. I recently coached a church whose executive leader was very proud he was not ‘one of those’ micromanagers. He gave his staff quite a bit of freedom and autonomy, which are good things. However, in his desire to give freedom, he did not give direction or set expectations. As a result, the staff generally felt unsupported and uncared for.

In these three examples, the leaders all meant well, but did not create the culture they intended. Their leadership decisions and communication created the opposite culture. Not only was that culture not as strong as they wished, it created confusion in the staff with the mixed messages.

Your Next Move

Next time you think about your leadership decisions, ask yourself if your communication and behavior are reinforcing the culture you want or not. If you have a trusted advisor, ask their advice on this subject, since it is tough to have this level of self-awareness.

Read more from Dave.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Bair

Dave brings a unique talent for system and process implementation to the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder and also leads our team of coaches. His history of consulting with major corporations to implement change has enabled him to build an impressive coaching framework to guide church leaders towards operational effectiveness. Dave and his wife of many years have a daughter, studying chemistry in college, and a son in high school who's passions include saxophone and drums. In addition for finding Dave at DaveBair.co you may occasionally spot him piloting his hot air ballon in the western sky.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Meet Dave Bair – Process Coach at Church Community Builder

If you regularly read my Vision Room content, you know that I tend to lean towards process and leadership themes. For people that know me only as a part of the leadership at Church Community Builder, that may seem inconsistent. After all, shouldn’t I be writing more practical, software focused articles?

If software alone were the answer to the challenges church leaders face when it comes to stewarding God’s people effectively, I might. The truth, however, is that software is only part of the answer. Maximum effectiveness and impact requires good tools (software is one option), solid processes, and passionate people working together in harmony. This isn’t just a theory of mine. I’ve learned it the hard way through many years of working and leading in both business and ministry.

I’ve also learned a lot from my good friend and co-worker, Dave Bair. As the guy who leads process development and Coaching for Church Community Builder, Dave understands and teaches this  truth better than anyone I’ve ever met. In short, he’s brilliant! Dave and his team have made an amazing difference in hundreds of churches who have chosen to be coached, whether it be through their software implementation or through the development of a new Connections strategy. 

Dave has a ton of insight to share about how to implement vision and strategy. So much so, in fact, that I have asked him to start sharing his thoughts and ideas here on the Vision Room. In the months ahead, you can look forward to regular articles from Dave that will really challenge your thoughts and ideas on how business-oriented themes like processes, systems and change management fit into the conversation about how we do ministry and reach people for Christ. I realize that many people don’t think those two things belong in the same conversation but they probably aren’t hanging out here on the Vision Room!

So, let’s get started by getting to know Dave a little bit.

Q & A with Dave Bair

Q: Dave, your experience before coming to Church Community Builder was really fascinating. Tell us a little about it.

More years ago than I care to admit, I got my degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in psychology. While that might be an unusual combination, I have always been interested in how stuff works, whether they be machines or people.

Straight out of college, I went to work for Hewlett Packard, helping to create software for procurement and inventory management. While I was there, I got a chance to design, build, and test software. Over time, I realized our software didn’t really scratch the itch for the customer. That was the point where I began informally consulting to the customer and helped improve their processes to the point where software could be helpful. 

I enjoyed the process work with the customer so much that I eventually moved to a consulting firm specializing in leading large change projects in heavy industry. I got the chance to consult to companies like Kraft, BP, DuPont, BASF, The Electricity Supply Board of Ireland, Total, Husky Oil, and a variety of power companies. I learned that managing the change journey was just as important, if not more important, than getting the right answer. That was a very fun job getting to travel all over the US and beyond to coach business leaders, implementing culture and process improvements.

Q: Why would a Church Management Software company be interested in someone like you?

After roughly 8 years working with church leaders, Church Community Builder realized some were getting better with the purchase our software, and some were not. After some digging, they observed that the difference appeared to be the quality of the processes the software was being asked to support. With that realization, we decided to create this coaching service helping church leaders implement better processes to better utilize our software. I think they had come to the same realization I had back at HP – the combination of people, processes, and technology is really the recipe for success.

Q: Can you tell us more about this “Coaching” service?

We like the term “coaching” because it implies someone who walks alongside an individual or organization as they seek to become better at something. That is exactly what we seek to do. In our current context, most of our coaching is done with church leaders who want to implement our software effectively and realize that technology is only part of the equation. Each church is different and has a unique culture and processes.  We’ve developed a methodology which allows our proven expertise to be customized for each church as we guide them towards their goals. We focus on five main areas: software utilization, project planning, process design, leadership coaching, and change management

Q: Working in heavy industry and the local church seem pretty unrelated. Can you help us make the leap from one to the other?

Over the years, I have come to believe most organizations have the answers they need to be successful; implementation, not knowledge, creates the gap between great vision and great success. Time and time again, I have observed that success results from good processes, executed through well managed change. Those principles apply regardless of industry, whether it be maintaining a power plant or managing volunteers at a church.

Q: You talk a lot about processes but you also mentioned culture. How do those relate to each other?

Culture is the glue that makes processes more effective and sustainable. Culture must be congruent with the processes as they can sabotage each other if they don’t line up. If the leader advocates for a certain set of processes, but also supports a different behavior in the culture, both will suffer.

Q: Tell us a little about you…personally.  When you are not coaching church leaders what do you do?

I have been married to an amazing woman for nearly 19 years now. I have two kids. My daughter is a freshman in college studying chemistry. My son is a freshman in high school with a lot of his time focused on music, playing saxophone and drums. When I am not coaching church leaders, I enjoy reading a lot, hiking around Colorado, and flying hot air balloons. Ballooning has been a family hobby for us for many years and we love the camaraderie and the challenge.

Q: How can someone connect with you for a deeper conversation?

The best place to start is the Church Community Builder website. In addition, they can connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Like me, I hope you look forward to learning more from Dave in the weeks and months to come.

Has the vision for your church ever been sabotaged by ineffective processes? How did you “fix” them?

> Read more from Steve.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

College Football and Your Church: Lessons about Systems and Process

Man, I love college football!! It is, by far, my favorite spectator sport. The energy, excitement and yes, even the controversy, is unmatched by any other sport.

As we head into the final weeks of the college football season, there’s going to be a lot of debate about who deserves to be in the National Championship game. Though my loyalties lie with the Georgia Bulldog Nation, I still appreciate the way coaches like Nick Saban (Alabama) and Chip Kelly (Oregon) have lead their teams to get to this point. Have you noticed that their teams are in the top 5 national rankings every year? As you analyze their leadership, there’s one principle that has helped define their success which also has tremendous application in the local church:

The church systems and processes you implement as a leader directly impact the behaviors and outcomes of those you lead.

Goals without defined processes and systems are nothing more than pipe dreams. While focusing on the weekend experience is very important, it’s not enough to engage people in real relationships and authentic community. None of this just happens; there must be a method behind what you want to accomplish.

For example, maybe you want to raise up more leaders and volunteers. But the only system you have in place to accomplish that goal is to make more announcements from the pulpit. That is not a purposeful strategy, and it won’t create more volunteers. Quite simply, it won’t do anything to move the ball down the field.

The best college coaches in the country don’t make it to the National Championship game by focusing solely on some motivational speech they give before each game. They have a detailed strategy, from how they recruit to how they practice to how they create a game plan each week to accomplish their goals.

As church leaders, we must approach our work in the same way. A solid process will actually help us reach our goals by influencing and dictating the behavior of the people who help us get there. Here are a few ways that effective processes impact outcomes:

  • Effective Processes set expectations
  • Effective Processes offer clarity
  • Effective Processes help people self-select or opt out based on their “fit” and “passion”
  • Effective Processes equip and train
  • Effective Processes identify the right tools to support people.
  • Effective Processes evaluate success and offer accountability

Let’s use small group leadership as a practical example. As a small group leader, my end goal is to create and facilitate a healthy small group that is engaging in community and experiencing life change. But you can’t just trust my abilities to make that happen. Church leadership must provide process for me to operate in if they really want to see consistent success.

  • Set expectations for me that eliminate ambiguity about what is expected. For example, make sure I know I am expected to turn in individual attendance each week. Be sure I understand why it’s important.
  • Train me to be effective. Give me practical tools which help me better facilitate communication and community.
  • Support me by telling me where to go if I hit obstacles or situations I am not equipped for.
  • Give me tools that help me meet expectations in an easy and efficient manner. Preferably, they are online so I can access them from anywhere.
  • Hold me accountable to the health of my group by evaluating results. Good leaders (and I try hard to be one) desire accountability and seek to know how they are doing.

In the end, the process you establish and follow will guide my behavior and help me create a healthy small group.

Inspiration alone will not create the Kingdom impact we desire. Hope is not enough. You must start by creating systems and processes that will help you get wherever it is your feel God is leading you. It may not be perfect at first, but as you begin to implement it, you can identify what’s working, what’s not, and be able to make the adjustments moving forward.

Nick Saban won a National Championship at Alabama in his first season. He did this with the very same players who finished 6-6 the year before. When he was asked how he did it in the post game interviews, he referenced the word PROCESS every single time!!

How have you seen this principle play out in the work you do? What encouraging words would you have for someone looking to create processes that lead the life change?


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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