A critical part of any organizational culture is instilling the norm that we “plan and execute.” It’s not “ready, fire, aim.” It’s “aim, ready, fire!” But why is planning so important to the success of the organization?
I’ll borrow a quote from a previous post I wrote on strategic planning to answer this question.
Why is planning or “choosing a direction” so important? Especially in the church, it’s important to make every action count. You’ve got to choose a direction and determine how you’re going to get there. I think Lewis Carroll’s telling of Alice’s encounter with the Cheshire Cat in Through the Looking Glass is a great illustration:
Would you tell me please, which way ought I to go from here?” she asks. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get,” the cat replies with a grin. “I don’t much care where,” she answers. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go”, the cat responds.
Developing a plan and execute culture is about “making decisions based on data” and “consensus-building.” Let’s discuss them one at a time.
Decisions Based On Data
As a leader, it’s important to avoid emotional decisions or otherwise making decisions on a whim. Implement effective data collection methods and use the data to make decisions. Around here, we use a “Stat Sheet” to consolidate attendance, giving, and baptism data in a weekly “at a glance” format. This and other data are graphically illustrated as part of our Key Performance Measures (KPMs). Examples of both are provided in the Resources section of Executive Pastor Online.
The other key component in developing a plan and execute culture is consensus building. Why is this important? As leaders, consensus-building requires us to get others involved in issues and determine the best path forward. A good examination of the data and group discussion should be “the norm” for any important decision. Consensus building helps to ensure several points of view are heard, resulting in a better decision and the team is on board and “bought in” to the final decision.
When the decision is made, and it’s time to “execute,” the team is already involved, each assuming responsibility for their part in getting it done.
One more thing. Once a decision is made, and the plan is executed, if a change needs to be made or a decision reversed, at a minimum, the same team that made the decision and was involved in the execution should be involved in deciding to do something different. Get the team back together, look at the data, and build consensus around a different decision.