What happened recently that makes you feel you’re accomplishing your mission and vision?
I love that question. I love it so much I begin every single meeting, lunch, coffee, or gathering at Watermarke with this one question.
At our staff meeting today, I began (as usual) with this question. The answers brought both cheers and tears! Here is a sampling:
- One answer involved a brand new unbeliever who had not been to any church in decades. A few weeks ago, she walked into Watermarke for the first time. It just so happened we were launching a new Starting Point group that week, and she decided to give it a shot (you can read more about Starting Point HERE). Her life is changing, and she has not missed a single week of the group! That’s worth celebrating.
- Our high school (InsideOut) ministry is at their summer camp. We celebrated how many students and leaders attended this year and what we have already seen happen in some of their lives over the past five days. That’s mission success.
- Our elementary team (UpStreet) created an amazing summer competition with our children based on inviting new friends to Watermarke. We shared several of their stories, including some who had invited literally dozens of friends throughout the month of June!
- We even shared how a staff member from another campus location came to Watermarke on Sunday morning to help run sound when our sound engineer showed up with a 103 degree fever.
There were several more…
Sure, in every meeting, there are lots of things to cover. And this question can at times take half the meeting. But whether I’m meeting individually with a direct report, with our staff team, or with a volunteer team, I begin the meeting with this one question. Here’s why:
1. This question helps us celebrate.
Celebrating wins is critical to organizational health. People love to be on winning teams, and by celebrating mission and vision success, we collectively enjoy and remember why we come to work every day.
2. This question allows us to thank others.
Every story is created by multiple people. Some obvious, and some not so obvious. I love hearing our staff or volunteers thank each other, and this question creates the perfect environment to publicly appreciate others.
3. This question reminds us of our interdependencies.
Our church (like any organization) is full of interdependencies. A win in our children’s ministry would not be possible without the rest of our church filling their roles and responsibilities. When we answer this question, it reminds us that we are not alone in our efforts, but rather we are part of a team – a team collectively focused on one central mission and vision.
4. This questions drives repeat performances.
We know what’s rewarded is repeated. As leaders, public recognition is a powerful reward that creates repeat performances. As staff or volunteers answer this question, the public praise encourages everyone to push the mission and vision further, faster.
5. This question maintains our focus.
Leadership always comes with many possible distractions. But, when I ask this question, it reminds both our team and me as to what is most important at Watermarke – our mission and vision. It’s far too easy in any organization to get off track or lose focus. This question helps keep the main thing the main thing.
6. This question generates stories.
Stories are the conduit for the mission and vision. I think of them as a Trojan horse for information. People rarely remember information, and they rarely forget stories. This is partially why Jesus taught in stories.
This question brings stories front and center – right where they should be. Better yet, this question allows everyone to be story sneezers – spreading success and wins throughout the organization.
7. This question helps me lead better.
Personally, I need to hear these stories and I need to know what is happening on the ground floor of our church. Just like our staff, these wins fuel my passion and help keep me motivated and focused on the reason we exist. The higher up we move in the organization, the further removed we can be from the action. This question provides great reminder for me, personally.
There are a lot of questions we could ask of our teams, but I can’t think of any more important in our meetings.
What about you? Have you ever asked this question? What did it mean for you as a leader and for your teams? What else did this question provide you? I’d love to know – feel free to leave a comment and share this post so we can all learn from each other.