Have You Watched Your “Game” Film Lately?

Working an an article for VisionRoom.com about the power of TNT (it’s probably not what you think), I was reminded of this post from a couple of years ago. Since we’re in the middle of football season this time of year, I thought it would be appropriate to bring it back again.

There are a few scenes in the movie “Remember the Titans” in which “game film” plays a critical role: the school’s math teacher breaks down an opponent’s plays; one coach’s daughter loves watching game film with her dad while the other coach’s daughter thinks it’s silly; by the final game the reluctant daughter has come around and joins her new friend watching the team’s film every week.

It’s a great film with lots of leadership lessons – one of which is the importance of leaders watching their own “game film.

Seeing the movie reminded me of a great article by Dan and Chip Heath (authors of Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive). Published in Fast Company magazine, it’s entitled “Watch the Game Film.” You really need to check out the whole article, but here’s a quick summary:

  • Football coaches use game film to spot things they’d never see in real time. They have an entire week to review a 60-minute game.
  • In the business world, every day is game day, and leaders don’t take the time to “study the film” of their activities. It’s unfortunate, because studying game film can yield unexpected results.
  • Doug Lemov, a consultant to school districts, utilized film of top-tier teachers in the classroom to train other teachers – resulting in raising students a grade level and a half in one year.
  • It doesn’t have to be film – Jump Associates, a strategy consulting firm, uses trained observers to record client meetings. After the meeting, the Jump staff holds a debriefing, modeled on the Army’s after-action reviews.

What insights might your team be overlooking because no one is observing carefully enough?

Maybe it’s time to press the PAUSE button and start screening some game film. There are some things you’ll never see unless you look.


Mission is What You Measure

Following up from yesterday’s post, here’s a simple question for you:

What types of “film” would you watch to improve the effectiveness of your church?

Keeping in mind that I’m using “film” in a figurative sense – there are many ways to observe, measure, and evaluate activities in your organization for possible improvement.

What most established churches measure is harmony, stability, and privilege. That is what occupies the agenda of most staff meetings, congregational gatherings, and denominational processes.

  • Churches go to great lengths to measure harmony – they mark every single, conceivable, and even half-baked complaint, anxiety, or hurt feeling.
  • Churches go to great lengths to measure stability. They chart the financial and membership trends. They have mastered the art of risk management.
  • Churches go to great length to measure privilege. They maintain elaborate by-laws and exacting processes for consensus management

Often the problem is that a watching and seeking world sees the disconnect between the stated (or at least assumed) mission of the church and the reality.

Is it possible to consider other activities that the church should be doing? How about “watching the film” in these areas for starters?

  • Do you have a red carpet? – What is your guest experience like? How do you welcome people to your campus? What makes your guests say, “Wow – I didn’t expect that!”
  • How do you handle frequent fliers? – Welcoming every guest is important. Welcoming guests for the second and third time is extremely important!
  • Who’s on your team? – Team matters – if you’re going to be in the game, you’ve got to have a team. There are probably dozens of opportunities in your church for people to be involved. How do you move them from attending to participating?
  • What’s my draft like? – Sports teams don’t just randomly pick their players; they spend lots of money and effort to know the potential of each player. Recruiting leaders in your church ought to operate the same way.
  • How many teams are in your league? Your church probably worships in a large group or two, but it will only thrive and grow by creating small groups. How do you create them, what do you expect them to do, and how do they reproduce?
  • How do you define a win? In sports, you look at the scoreboard. What’s a win look like for your church as individuals, groups, and the church as a whole?

I’ve only scratched the surface – you can probably add a dozen more activities to this list – things you ought to be “watching the film” on. Understanding what is important, and then taking steps to continually improve it, will produce results.

Mission is what you measure.

My favorite post from June, 2012