There are some things that are unchangeable—things outside of our control. But what about the stuff that we do control? What about the stuff that we can change. The places where we have autonomy or authority.
You’re a business leader, and your primary product is slipping in market share. If something doesn’t change soon, you’ll be out of business. You know it. Your staff knows it. Your competition knows it.
You’re a team leader, and your staff is growing complacent. Moral is low, people are beginning to leave, and you know something must change internally for the team to be a team once again. You’re the leader. You have the power to make a change.
You’re a pastor or church leader. Things have grown stagnant in the congregation. People are still attending, but they aren’t engaging like before. They arrive late and leave early. New families are not showing up. You know something must change if you are going to reach the community again. You’re the leader. You know what’s wrong, and you believe you can fix it. You can make the shift. You can implement the change.
Read this if…
You have ever hesitated to try something, start something, or develop something.
This post in one sentence…
What should you do if you want to launch something new, but your something doesn’t feel ready?
How you can engage…
Share this specifically with people who have great ideas and need to move forward. Or any perfectionist you know! Lastly, leave a comment with your start story. I’d love to read about your experience.
So you’re afraid to:
Launch that blog
Start that second service
Hire that team member you really need but can’t afford
Redo your service format
But you just can’t pull the trigger. Ever wonder why? This could be the answer:
I have always loved Seth Godin. I’ve probably read all of his books. His blog. Basically everything Seth says resonates with my marketing inner-self.
Seth talks a lot about launching new stuff. He famously labeled it “shipping.” Seth’s stance is simple: “Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly.” I love that, even though it scares me to death.
Honestly, Seth’s encouragement is the reason I launched a blog. I partially wanted a new, fresh space to ideate and create content, but I also knew launching a blog would be an exercise in “shipping” something. Most likely, shipping something lousy, but at least shipping something.
Recently, I was reminded how true Seth’s stance really is. I was looking over some old blog post and I wanted more than anything to rewrite and republish them all, apologizing to anyone who accidentally endured these early writings in the process. As a blogging newbie, I didn’t know what to write about. I didn’t know how to blog. Once I posted all my Kindle highlights from a book. Who wants to read 5 pages of my highlights!?! And I was not a good conversational writer. For two years I had only written academically (insert incessant footnotes here…), and nobody enjoys reading a textbook! I had no clue how to take the oral communication skill I was developing and transition it to the written word. But I battled through the resistance (another concept I’ve embraced from Seth) and shipped. And I’m glad I did. I still feel sorry for my early readers, but I’m glad I pushed through. And while I’m still not an expert blogger or great writer, I’m learning and improving with each subsequent little shipment.
With some companies, it’s the only way to get their attention! With some, they never seem to hear, do they?
I recently visited Six Flags over Georgia (it’s a theme park in the Atlanta area, and before you ask – don’t go) with my kids. It was a terrible experience in many respects. Think Disney – then consider the inverse – and you’ll have Six Flags over Georgia.
While I was searching the park for an open drink retailer, dumbfounded that on a 93-degree day in Atlanta virtually every drink station was closed, I tweeted my frustration.
I followed up with a second tweet, which has thus far proven to be correct:
Have you ever given great feedback in the wrong way or to the wrong person, virtually negating the feedback in total?
I sure have – like it was my job!
Actually, evaluating and providing feedback IS a huge part of my job. It is an important part of any leader’s job. As a Lead Pastor in a campus location with North Point Ministries, I am constantly evaluating our services, events, and programs. One of our staff covenants is “Make it Better,” so it’s safe to say evaluation and feedback is in our organizational DNA.
While evaluation alone is relatively innocent, the feedback mechanisms that carry our evaluations are ripe for harm – especially if you are a senior leader.
What about your department or organization? At our church, we challenge the leadership to ask that question frequently. The thought is simple and logical – if you don’t have the resources you need to succeed, we want to help fill in the gaps – within reason, of course.
When I first arrived at Watermarke Church, we were FAR from resourced. We existed as a hand-to-mouth organization. Every dollar we received left as it arrived. Every offering was critical. Every check was necessary. For two years, we scratched and clawed our way. It was a difficult season, but it was also a season full of fun and challenge … and innovation.
Then, after two years, we converted our church partnership into a campus location of North Point Ministries. Many things changed. And by many, I mean nearly everything. But our resources changed the most. Overnight, we went from being under-resourced to winning the church resource lottery (not really, but it felt that way). There were no blank checks, but we immediately improved financially. Within weeks our church began to take on new staff and new equipment. Our services improved. Our technology improved. Our leadership bench improved.
This is the fourth post of six in a leadership series, Personalize Your Values, all based on what I learned watching Dan Cathy’s surprise visit to a local Chick-fil-A restaurant. In case you missed it, here are the previous posts: PART 1 – PART 2 – PART 3.
In the previous post, we discussed how every leader should “go first.” By that, in reference to organizational values, we mean that leaders should not just communicate values, they must publicly demonstrate values – consistently. Going first is important – in fact, it’s critical – but leaders cannot just display a value once and consider their work done.
As an organizational leader, it’s oh too easy to forget that “going first” is only the beginning of setting the tone. As John Maxwell has made famous, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” When it comes to the life of organizational values, John’s assertion holds true, as well. But values are only as good as a leaders ability to clarify and consistently demonstrate. That is exactly what Dan does consistently across the Chick-fil-A chain. Here’s what I saw Dan do beautifully:
Leaders set the tone.
Here are three ways you and I can be tone-setters when it comes to our values, as well:
This is the third post of six in a leadership series, Personalize Your Values, all based on what I learned watching Dan Cathy’s surprise visit to a local Chick-fil-A restaurant. It might be helpful to read PART 1 and PART 2 first.
Most organizations have defined values in some shape or form. At Watermarke Church, we have a set of organizational and staff values. These values define our approach and set our strategies. If you do not have a defined set of values, you most likely have values that are just undefined, because every leader has expectations based on some version of internal or intrinsic values.
Like Dan, I have the opportunity to walk around as a leader and observe our church in action most every week. Of course, my organization is spread over a couple of buildings rather than a country, but still. It is so tempting as a leader to walk into an event or Sunday morning environment and evaluate what I see against our organizational values. There is a time for this, but remember what Dan did when he walked in the local Chick-fil-A (read more about that HERE if you missed the first post).
This is the second post of six in a leadership series, Personalize Your Values, all based on what I learned watching Dan Cathy’s surprise visit to a local Chick-fil-A restaurant. If you missed the introductory post, you can catch up HERE.
What should the President of Chick-fil-A do when he makes a surprise visit to a local location? When I saw Dan walk in the local Chick-fil-A restaurant a few weeks ago, a single location in a vast chain for which he serves as President, I was full of anticipation. Not because I know him, but because I wanted to see how the local Operator and team members would respond! A surprise visit by any leader can be cause anxiety.
But it was clear that Dan’s visit was different than your average surprise, leadership visit, beginning with his first steps into the restaurant. Dan and Chick-fil-A value the customer experience and servant leadership. I believe they have termed it “Second Mile Service.” When Dan first walked in, it was abundantly clear that:
This is the first post of six in a leadership series, Personalize Your Values, all based on what I learned watching Dan Cathy’s surprise visit to a local Chick-fil-A restaurant. It’s amazing what you can learn while eating the best chicken sandwich and sweet tea in the world!
Here we go…
I should first tell you: I love Chick-fil-A. My Mom began working in their corporate headquarters when I was 7-years-old, so Chick-fil-A has always been an influence in my life. Not to mention they have the best chicken sandwiches and sweet tea.
Every leader loves progress, and driving environment, program, event, or even leadership evolution is part of of the progress loop. Great leaders practice the art of evaluation and evolution. Individually, they are equally important, but without their counterpart, each is purposeless.
Some definitions based on my personal use: Evaluation is the systematic process of analyzing against a standard of expectation. By definition alone, effective evaluate is far from accidental. But evaluation is nearly worthless without evolution. Evolution is the process of change toward the standard of expectation.
If you want to be effective at both evaluation and evolution, make sure you: