Uncertainty is No Excuse for Lack of Strategy in Your Church

When Roger Martin, of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto,  asks business executives about their company’s strategy — or about an apparent lack thereof — they often respond that they can’t or won’t do strategy because their operating environment is changing so much. There isn’t enough certainty, they argue, to be able to do strategy effectively.

If this is true in the business world, it is really true in churches.

Martin goes on to say,

I really wonder what makes them think so. Life is and always has been uncertain. If we live in an uncertain, fast-moving, turbulent world today, why would it be any different a week, a month or a year from now? If the world is too uncertain to choose today, what is it about the future than will make things more certain? At some point, do we simply declare the world to be certain enough to make strategy choices? How will we know it is the day? What criteria will we use to decide the requisite level of certainty has been reached? Or will we simply put off choosing forever, because certainty is utterly unachievable at any stage?

In truth every organization has a strategy. Whether it ‘does strategy’ explicitly or not, the choices that it makes on a daily basis result in the company operating on some part of the playing field (i.e. making a where-to-play choice) and competing there in some fashion (i.e. making a how-to-win choice). It matters not a whit whether the industry is highly uncertain, every company competing in it has a strategy.

Without making an effort to ‘do strategy,’ though, an organization runs the risk of its numerous daily choices having no coherence to them, of being contradictory across divisions and levels, and of amounting to very little of meaning. It doesn’t have to be so. But it continues to be so because these leaders don’t believe there is a better way.

At Auxano, our Navigators encounter the same line of thinking in their weekly conversations with church leaders across the country. To help meet this challenge, we are happy to introduce the StratOps process.

Simply put, the Paterson StratOp Process is a custom-tailored MasterPlan that develops and redefines an organization’s complete strategy by traversing the typical silo-thinking culture to unlock key moments of clarity and then putting those discoveries to action. It is a facilitated/guided process that creates an environment of breakthrough thinking for leaders, their leadership teams, and other key contributors in their organizations.

The words combined to formulate the term “StratOp” are used with striking purpose. Strategy  is “the art of planning for tomorrow, today.” Operations is “the discipline of taking care of today, today.” The StratOp process takes into account both organizational and real world realities. It is the balance of managing today’s realities in light of tomorrow’s opportunities that gives the StratOp its true power. A silent third partner in the definition of StratOp is the word Financial. Both the strategic and operational must be financed.

What distinguishes the StratOp process from other strategic planning methods is that it is a behaviorally-sound process enabling leaders to manage their ministry as a whole, not as a collection of parts, vital in today’s religious environment. Each step of the StratOp process logically and systematically builds on the previous and blends together the strategic, operational, and the financial through a compelling vision of the future. The result is a breakthrough of thinking, alignment and focus. Through a “managing the whole” approach, new potential is released with astonishing results.

Results that can be implemented today, not at some uncertain date in the future.

Find out more about the Auxano StratOps process here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Oree McKenzie — 12/23/13 5:57 am

Noteworthy article and an even more intriguing concept.

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.

The 4 Reasons You Stopped Empowering Others and What to Do About It

Someone once asked “Are you going through life or are you growing through life?” I love that question. Right now I am going through significant transition in how I lead. I have never been more motivated by the maxim, “If you are doing what you did last year, you’re not growing.

One of the greatest growth challenges for any leader is the ability to empower and release others. While I constantly aspire to raise up others, I am consistently amazed at the conditions of my heart that hold me back. Specifically there are four internal barriers that I must consciously work through. Maybe one of these is stopping you right now.

Why do we stop empowering others?

#1 Empowerment increases the scope of unknown ministry outcomes.

As soon as you give some else the steering wheel, you don’t know which road they are going to take. How is your own need of control keeping you from a step of delegation? How can you develop your faith and take a calculated risk  with one of your leaders?

#2 Empowerment requires a sacrifice of short-term ministry efficiency.

Chances are, you are not only good at what you do, you are also fast! And when Sunday’s a coming you don’t have time to develop someone else. WRONG! You have probably waited to long. The current need for expediency is not only unhealthy, its also getting in the way of mission expansion and ministry multiplication. Is it time for you to slow down in order to speed up?

#3 Empowerment requires giving away authority that previously provided the basis of personal ministry success.

Okay, I know this one really meddles. But it’s true in my life. Over the years its easy to get addicted to the minor, everyday accolades and at-a-boys that people bring. Is it possible for these unseen, subversive, “feel-goods” to stop us from reproducing ourselves? More often that we realize, I think.  In what area of your ministry can you starve your ego and get someone of the bench and into the game?

#4 Empowerment necessitates close support and authentic community with other leaders.

The more successful you are the more demands come crashing in. The more successful you are the more people want time with you. If you’re not careful the very heartbeat of leadership –influences others through relationships– gets short circuited through isolation. Sometimes we are just too tired to be close enough when it comes to empowering others. Where will the love that called you into the ministry need to be applied again? Who can you develop that would love to spend time with you?

So what do you do about these challenges?

I must continually do heart-building exercises to to keep my empowerment muscles in shape. In fact I create a work-out through questions that was published in a book I wrote with Aubrey Malphurs. I thought you might enjoy a free copy, as an opportunity to refresh your own commitment to empowering others. The summary chart above gives you an appetizer of the chapters content, questions and exercises.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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.