BREAK THROUGH BARRIERS. MAXIMIZE YOUR IMPACT.
I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours.
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How to Get Team Clarity in the Weekly Grind
Leaders know where they’re going and how to get there.
Confusion is the enemy of momentum. It crushes your ability to reach goals, and limits your capacity for accomplishing the intended vision. Unfortunately, many churches and church staffs are marked by confusion. Their efforts are divided, and team members waste time on tasks and projects that don’t move the church closer to realizing its maximum impact.
I’ll never forget, one summer as a kid my family went to a Florida beach for vacation. After sitting in the sand for a while, my dad pointed to a distant pier. He said, “Let’s walk there. There’s probably a great spot to get some ice cream, to cool down, and take in a great view.”
“Plus,” he said, “it’s not that far.”
We were all-in.
So we started the journey. We walked. And walked. And walked. “Not that far” turned out to be “pretty stinkin’ far.” When we got there, there was no place to get ice cream. Just a souvenir shop and a place to buy bait. The view was mostly of guys fishing. It was hot. I don’t remember the circumstances, but somehow my sister–who was in high school–got side-tracked somehow and ended up being toted back to our spot on the beach by the beach patrol. Confusion was king!
It’s a funny story now, but the truth is that many church staffs are like this. They’re led by a guy who says, “The pier will be awesome!” But the journey is longer than expected and the rewards along the way fall short.
So how can you minimize confusion and increase team clarity in order to reach your goals and achieve your vision?
1) Define the quick win to the big goal.
Achieving vision doesn’t happen overnight and strategy implementation is a long-term process built on a commitment to focus. When the big picture is all a staff sees, some will get lost in the dream while others will get discouraged by the distance between the dream and reality. Yes, set long-term vision and challenging performance goals each year, but in your staff meetings, focus on the quick win for this week that takes you closer to the big goals. Always cast what’s priority in light of the big picture, but channel your team’s energy towards what can be accomplished this week.
2) Determine the critical pathway.
Defining a quick win sounds great, but you need to know how to get there. When I was the project manager for a campus building project, I worked every week with our contractor to define the step-by-step pathway that was necessary to hit our weekly, monthly, and overall project goals. It can help to map out your goals with your team, and work together to set benchmarks and align responsibilities.
3) Curate the task list.
In his fantastic book Essentialism, Greg McKeowen states, “You cannot underestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” Where is your team wasting effort on things that are ostensibly important but are actually almost useless? Take time for staff to list out their time breakdown, and encourage them to eliminate 20% of it by classifying it as a total waste of time.
4) Manage the minutiae.
There will be things in your week that are tedious but necessary. Follow the Pareto Principle, and don’t allow your 20% most powerful effort to go towards these things. Relegate the minutiae to your least valuable time, and delegate as much as possible. No one can eliminate all of their busy work, but teams can demote it so that it doesn’t consume their week.
5) Celebrate the progress.
Each week, celebrate the quick win you aimed for the previous week. If you didn’t attain your goal, celebrate what was accomplished and talk about how you can hit the current week’s goal. Your team needs to believe that your church is actually working towards something, that the payoff is worth it, and the journey itself is rewarding. No one wants to end their week feeling like they were in a hamster wheel: running their hardest only to finish in the same place they started. Mark progress and celebrate it.
Here’s the bottom line.
Ask yourself this question: would I be willing to sacrifice an inch of progress in a hundred directions if I could gain a mile in one direction? Does this mean that there would be a drop-off in productivity somewhere? Yes. But if you can build team clarity around what truly matters most in the weekly grind, you’ll finally gain momentum towards your vision and accomplish bold performance goals. I imagine you’d take that trade every day of the week.