Still Answering the Question of the Week…

A continuing discussion coming from 3 different conversations with 3 different pastors over the course of 3 different days, but all having the same question:

Q: How do you put together a team of leaders to guide a church through a new ministry initiative or project? 

Pat MacMillan, author of The Performance Factor, and Seth Godin, author of Tribes, have been a great resource for me in working with church teams. Here is the second of several posts on the topic.

The first characteristic was a common purpose.

High performance teams are also characterized by crystal clear roles.

Every team member is clear about his or her particular role, as well as those of other team members. Roles are about how we design, divide, and deploy the work of the team. While the concept is compellingly logical, many teams find it very challenging to implement in practice. When they get it right, though, team members discover that making their combination more effective and leveraging their collective efforts is an important part to synergistic results.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of team roles:

  • Functional (technical) expertise team roles – qualities and knowledge each member brings to the team
  • Formal team roles – skills needed for a specific role like team leader or facilitator
  • General team roles – the expectations placed on any member of the team so that objectives are met

Role Design Criteria

  • Clear – everyone must have role clarity or you will have role confusion
  • Complete – cover the whole task – no gaps
  • Compatible – match tasks to individual strengths and skills
  • Complementary – configure roles so that one person’s accomplishment doesn’t hinder or block someone else from their task
  • Consensual – agree on who is to do what and how

This is my part of our job and no one is done until everyone is done

A: Defining the common purpose of the team is the first step of creating a team; that common purpose is the reason for cooperation. Following that, the church must develop an appropriate division of labor and create clear roles for team members. This is the strategy for cooperation.

 
inspired by and adapted from The Performance Factor by Pat MacMillan and Tribes by Seth Godin
The Performance FactorTribes
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The Question of the Week is…

How do you put together a team of leaders to guide a church through a new ministry initiative or project?

3 different conversations with 3 different pastors over the course of 3 different days, but all having the same question!

As with all great questions, the answer begins with another question. One of the first I would ask is Why does this group exist? How that question is answered will determine, to a great measure, the success of the team. Pat MacMillan, author of The Performance Factor, and Seth Godin, author of Tribes, have been a great resource for me in working with church leadership teams.

The single most important ingredient in a team’s success is a clear, common, compelling task.

The power of a team flows out of each team member’s alignment to its purpose. The task of any team is to accomplish an objective and to do so at exceptional levels of performance. Teams are not ends in themselves, but rather a means to an end.

The power of teamwork flows out of alignment between the interests of individual team members and the mission of the team. MacMillan found that to achieve such alignment, team members must see the task as:

  • Clear – I see it.
  • Relevant – I want it.
  • Significant – It’s worth it.
  • Urgent – I want it…now!
  • Achievable – I believe it.

So you want to put together a leadership team for a specific project?

NEWS FLASH: There really is an “I” in team – if the individual members aren’t committed to a clear, common, and compelling task as individuals first, then you really won’t have much of a team.

So, the first answer to the question above?

A: First, the church needs to have a clear understanding of what the team is expected to accomplish. That clear purpose will serve as a guide to seeking individuals who will bring their collective wisdom together to form, over time, a team to accomplish the task.

inspired by and adapted from The Performance Factor by Pat MacMillan and Tribes by Seth Godin

The Performance FactorTribes

Every Element in Your Presentation Has a Single Purpose…

…to make a change happen.

A presentation is a precious opportunity. It’s a powerful arrangement…one speaker, an attentive audience, all in their seats, all paying attention (at least at first).   – Seth Godin

Don’t waste it.

courtesy of Justin S. Campbell

courtesy of Justin S. Campbell

The purpose of a presentation is to change minds.

  • If all you’re hoping to do is survive the ordeal because of lack of preparation, you’re wasting people’s time.
  • If all you’re hoping to do is amuse and delight the crowd, you’re simply an entertainer.
  • If all you’re hoping to do is pass along information, put it in a document and email it to your audience.

But if you really want to make a change, to move from informing someone to influencing them, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Who will be changed by this presentation?
  • What is the change I seek?

The answers can range from simple to subtle to dramatic.

Once you have the answers, though, dive into it with all you’ve got.

Every element of your presentation – the room, the attendees, the length, the tone, any visual elements, the technology – exists for just one reason: to make it more likely that you will achieve the change you seek. If an element doesn’t do that, replace it with something that does, or throw it out.

If you fail to make a change, you’ve failed. If you do make change, you’ve opened the possibility you’ll be responsible for a bad decision or part of a project that doesn’t work. No wonder it’s frightening and far easier to just do a lousy presentation.   – Seth Godin

A presentation isn’t an obligation – it’s a privilege.

inspired by Seth Godin, Bert Decker, Garr Reynolds, Nancy Duarte, and Andy Stanley

Don’t Let a Steep Learning Curve Become a Cliff

A learning curve is a graphical representation of the increase of learning (vertical axis) with experience (horizontal axis).

LearningCurve1

When we encounter a “steep learning curve” we face an uphill struggle to learn new ideas, practices, systems, etc. The goal is survival and ultimately, to be at a better place at some point in the future.

You know – the best in the world.

Anyone who is going to hire you, buy from you, recommend you, vote for you, or do what you want them to do is going to wonder if you’re the best choice. –Seth Godin

If you’re not going to put in the best effort, why bother?

Your learning curve should always be up and to the right – if it’s not, you’ve come to the edge of a cliff…

LearningCurve2

…now what?

Why Be Ordinary?

The first step to becoming extraordinary is simply to stop being ordinary.

Here are five suggestions to help you:

  • Avidly collect firsthand experiences– Sherlock Holmes’ greatest claim to fame was his power of observation. Make the effort to observe and understand the nuances of what is going on in your organization. Just one among many leaders? You are still the only “you”, and you know your experiences better than anyone else. Get out from behind your desk, and know what’s happening out there. First-hand observations are critically important-make it a part of your regular routine to gather them.
  • Have a “beginner’s mind” – set aside what you know and be open to looking at things with a fresh perspective. You have extensive education and experience, you may understand tradition, you probably have preconceived notions about things. Don’t forget the importance of starting with a blank page when confronted with new opportunity.
  • Keep an “idea wallet” so you don’t lose momentary insights– anthropologists carry a notebook and camera to record their discoveries. Try recording ideas in real-time – make use of current technologies like your mobile phone with camera, or do it the old-fashioned way with a journal or index card. When you see or hear something interesting, record it for later development and exploration with your team.
  • Become a proactive “idea-broker” and practice continuous cross-pollination– Develop solid, trusted relationships across departments and lines in your organization so that you can understand and apply the lessons you learn in one context to another. Combine learning and collaboration so that you become a conduit for fresh ideas for your team.
  • Embrace the power of storytelling – telling a story has an emotional appeal that transcends the raw data we often collect. Listen to your team. Encourage them to listen to those they come into contact with. Let the stories that come out of those conversations become the vehicles for communicating your message. It will be powerful, memorable, and uniquely yours.

Stop being ordinary TODAY. Reject routine and set yourself and your team on a course to becoming extraordinary.

The world will notice.

inspired by and adapted from The Big Moo, edited by Seth Godin

The Big Moo

Waiting is a Less Risky Form of Saying “No”

A few thoughts from the intersection of Seth Godin, George Harrison, Alice in Wonderland, Dr. Seuss, and Todd Henry…

Auxano’s Founder and Team Leader, Will Mancini posed the following question in a morning text to our team:

Where could you use breakthrough clarity on your leadership team? 

The question is intended to be asked by our Navigators to the leaders they are connecting with in churches – but it’s also appropriate for leaders everywhere. Most leaders can immediately identify a barrier or roadblock that stands in their way of moving forward to better future. Many leaders also have some idea about how to break that barrier.

It begs another question: What are you waiting for?

That question was on my mind as I began my day’s reading, researching, curating, and editing – and over a period of a few hours, the following came together:

Excellence isn’t about working extra hard to do what you’re told. It’s about taking the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing. It’s a personal, urgent, this-is-my-calling way to do your job. Please stop waiting for a map. We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.   – Seth Godin

Mapmakers are those who can effectively circumnavigate constraints in order to make things happen. We all deal with constraints, especially if we are working inside an organization. There will always be organizational charts, reporting structures, budgets, and defined career paths of some sort. The question isn’t whether constraints exist, but whether persist in finding our way around and through them.

Where in your life and work are you waiting for permission? Don’t anticipate that someone is going to hand you a map. You’ll probably have to make your own. The good news is that once you get moving, the terrain becomes more visible and navigable. It’s only when you’re standing still, unaware of what’s over the next hill, that the path of progress is opaque and frightening.

Say yes, then figure it out along the way.

Todd Henry, Die Empty

A quote often wrongly attributed to The Cheshire Cat:

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.   – George Harrison, from his song “Any Road”

The actual conversation between Alice and The Cheshire Cate:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

And, from everyone’s favorite graduation gift book,

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

   – Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

A closing challenge from Todd Henry:

When you look back on your life, the moments you will be most proud of will likely be the ones where you stepped out of your comfort zone in the pursuit of something you believed in. Don’t allow the lull of comfort to keep you trapped in a place of complacency and subpar engagement.

You must own your own growth and take responsibility for your own progress.

inspired by, and adapted from, Todd Henry’s Die Empty

 Die Empty

with a little help from Dr. Seuss, Seth Godin, George Harrison, and Lewis Carroll

 

12 Best Books of 2012

Making a “Best of” list is always hard – it’s a very subjective process, driven by my personal tastes, professional needs, and plain curiosity.

I’ve always been a voracious reader – a cherished habit passed down to me by my late father. In the past year, though, I’ve been able to ramp it up considerably because of my role as Vision Room Curator.

It’s not only a pleasure to read, it’s part of my job description – how cool is that?

Even so, it’s also hard to narrow it a “Best of” list down: in 2012, my reading included:

  • 127 books checked out from my local library
  • 68 print books purchased
  • 31 books received for review
  • 75 digital books on my Kindle

I also perused dozens of bookstores on my travels, writing down 63 titles for future review and/or acquisition. There are also a lot of late releases just coming out that I don’t have time to take a look at – yet. Be that as it may, here is my list of my 12 favorite books published in 2012.

Outside In

  Outside In

Guest Experiences for ChurchWorld is my passion, and this book by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine will provide churches a “go-to” manual for years to come

 

Deep and Wide

Deep and Wide

Andy Stanley and Northpoint Ministries have a solid model that all churches would do well to study – not to duplicate, but to understand how to impact your community for Christ.

 

Center Church

Center Church

Tim Keller delivers a textbook for doing church; possibly the most important church theology/leadership/practical book in a decade

 

The Advantage

   The Advantage

Patrick Lencioni captures the concept of clarity (he uses the phrase “organizational health”) like no business thinker today

 

The Icarus Deception

   The Icarus Deception

Seth Godin’s most recent book is probably the most challenging personal one I’ve read – and that’s saying a lot!

 

The Lego Principle

   The LEGO Principle

Joey Bonifacio writes in a simple, profound way about the importance of “connecting” in relationships that lead to discipleship

 

Missional Moves

   Missional Moves

Rob Wegner and Jack Magruder in a quiet, unassuming way, illustrate how Granger Community Church is transforming into a community of believers reaching their community – and the world.

 

Lead with a Story

Lead with a Story

Paul Smith delivers a powerful tool to enhance the leader’s skill in storytelling.

 

Design Like Apple

Design Like Apple

John Edson delivers a stunningly designed book that challenges the reader to understand and utilize Apple’s principles of design

 

 

Better Together

   Better Together

Church mergers (and closings) are going to be a huge event in the next decade; Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird give an excellent resource on how to survive and thrive throughout the process.

 

Quiet

   Quiet

Susan Cain writes the book I’ve been waiting for over 30 years – because I am an introvert leader.

 

 

Midnight Lunch

   Midnight Lunch

Sarah Miller Caldicott delivers a powerful primer for collaborative teamwork.

 

 

HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations

   HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations

Nancy Duarte is not just a great writer – she knows how to deliver a great presentation from the first idea to the final applause.

 

 

Okay, it’s not 12 – but it is a baker’s dozen!

Let’s see – there’s still over 2 weeks left in 2012 – plenty of time to find a good book – what do you recommend?