Archives For momentum

Today is the final post in my series of posts sharing what I learned about momentum from the Catalyst One-Day event taught by Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley. 

Andy Stanley's talk in the final session of the Catalyst One-Day Conference was mostly focused on programing. Specifically, he talked about how programming can become part of our organizational culture which leads us to focus on our programing, not the people we try to serve. Over time this can cause us to lose sight of the mission and people we are attempting to serve because we are so focused on our programing. 

Andy starts out the talk with the example of an old beat up couch that the family does not want to get rid of because of the memories and history of the couch. And he uses that as an analogy for his talk about how we need to be focused on our mission and the people we serve, not on the past history we want to preserve.

Andy Stanley

Programing is the answer to a question or a need.
All programing that takes place in an organization should be an answer to a need of the people we are trying to serve. Or, programing can be an answer to a question we have about who needs served and if we can serve them this way. Programing is a way of attempting to answer that question by creating a product or service.

Over time programming becomes part of your organizational culture.
This is definitely true. I experienced this when I first started working at the United Way of Stanislaus County. There were so many things we did that I was not sure why we did them. As the new guy, when I asked, "Why do we do that?" the answer I received so many times (that it still angers me to think about it) was, "We have been doing that for xx years." Correct me if I am wrong, but that was not the answer to my question.

Now, I am all for respecting processes and time tested tools and methods, but everything we do (as leaders and followers) should be for a purpose. When an organization begins doing things "because we have always done" them, that is a clear sign that the programing has become part of the organizational culture.

We must be more committed to our mission than or programing or model.
This is so true and applies to what I shared above about what I thought when first working at United Way of Stanislaus County. The focus of an organization should be on its mission and everything it does should evolve around, support, and push that mission forward. When programming does not support that mission, then we need to cut it. Cutting it frees up our time to do what supports our mission and it gives another organization an opportunity to provide that service.

Over time, sustaining the model can become the mission.
I think this does happen in organizations and churches. Especially churches because so much of what a church is resides in history. Sometimes people working at organizations or volunteers who are involved that have seen the "good ole days" do not want to see changes because they remember how things were.

It is good to remember that the model should support our mission. The model might change, but the mission probably will stay the same.

Over time, a model can work against the mission.
This is true also. I remember taking a class in 2011 called, Church and the Mission of God. The professor shared a story of a church he served on staff at in South Dakota where the church was very committed to creating a good looking and well built church as a way to get people to come to church. As a younger man who was an up and comer in the church world, he had fresh eyes and could see that what brought people to churches in the 1990's was not attractive buildings (like it has been in the 60's, 70's, and 80's), but it was that people needed to feel that the church cared for the community around them. This man saw that people were coming to church when the church came to them in their community by providing services and giving away information on what the church did.

He attempted to share this with the church leadership but because so many people were committed to (and had seen) the old model work effectively, they proceeded to upgrade their building hoping it would attract the people to the church.

The end result when the building upgrades where completed, as this pastor shared, was very few new people came to the church. For a few weeks they had some fresh visitors, but that was it. Within a month or two the church attendance was back to normal despite the thousands of dollars and many hours people worked to make the church upgrades. In the end, the old model was more destructive to the church than constructive because the labor of both staff and volunteers seems to have failed and left the people discouraged. 

Don't be in love with a tactic, be in love with a message or a population.
When it comes to being committed to your mission and not being committed to a model, make sure you are in love with a message or a population.

For A Day of Hope this was always simple for us. We were in love of serving and helping people who needed food for Thanksgiving. We did not want to help with any other holiday or need, we were in love with that family who was having a tough time and needed a nice Thanksgiving meal they could enjoy as a family.

Because we were in love with a population, it always allowed our "model" of fundraising to change. Often from year to year it looked very different.

If you commit to the "what", God will show you the "how".
I think this statement was from the last part of Andy's talk because he felt that people might not be believing that they can make a positive change in their organization because of the history and protectiveness of the models they might have. I think he was hoping to share that if we commit in our organization to the "what" of the model we need to change or move away from, God will show us "how" to do it. Because, changing the way people think about a model of what has been done can be very tough. People have lost their jobs over these things so we need to deal with it with sensitivity and tact.

Question: Is there a "couch" in your life or organization you need to remove? How do you plan to remove it?

Today I am continuing my series of posts sharing what I learned about momentum from the Catalyst One-Day event taught by Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley.

Creating Personal Spiritual Momentum
Craig Groeschel

Unhealthy spiritual dynamics kill momentum: This is true. Unhealthy people do not like to work in an unhealthy culture while unhealthy people love to work in an unhealthy culture. As leaders it is our responsibility to create healthy cultures where healthy people enjoy working in. Continue Reading…

Today I am continuing my series of posts sharing what I learned about momentum from the Catalyst One-Day event taught by Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley. 

Craig taught a session titled "Busting Barriers with Mindset Changes" which gave some good insight about the thinking we have as leaders have and how our thinking can prevent momentum from being created.

Busting Barriers with Mindset Changes
Craig Groeschel

Organizations like to settle into what is comfortable.
Craig shared that it is a natural tendency for organizations to settle into what is comfortable. People like to have predictability, security, and certainty so once things start going well it is the natural tendency for people to start to find ways to settle into what is happening.

What got us here won't get us to where God wants us to be.
Often what we do in ministry today leads us to where we end up tomorrow. So if we want to end up in different places tomorrow we need to do different things today.

5 Barrier Breaking Mindset Changes

  1. Think differently about church culture.
  2. Think different about programming: More is not always better. Craig went on to talk about his church and how they had so many different programs and services that is began to wear his people out and prevent them from doing things with excellence. Craig and his team began limiting the programs they ran so they could focus on only a few and dedicate all their money and people to doing those programs in the best way possible. The end result was that they now do more with less. He shared, "you don't have to do more to reach more people" but instead you can "reach more people by doing less."
  3. Think different about the mission.
  4. Think differently about people leaving the church: Craig shared that pastors and leaders often have the desire to keep as many people in their church and to do whatever they can to prevent them from leaving. However, he challenged the audience to realize that you can grow when people leave. Yes, it might be painful to see people leave and have the number of people attending and offering dollars slightly decrease, but he encouraged us to "love the long-term gain [of allowing people to leave the church] enough to take the short term pain." He also encouraged us that one of the best things we can do for our church culture is to encourage people to leave on good terms. 
  5. Think differently about limitations: This was a big one for me. Craig shared that often leaders have a saying they recite when their lack of people and financial resources prevent them from doing what they dream. That saying is, "we can't because we don't have ______." However, Craig challenged us to believe and say, "we can because we don't have ______." He shared that the limitations a leader has are often the source of the breakthroughs that they might experience. He stated, "God guides by what he does not provide." In other words, Craig strongly encouraged us not to allow the things we supposedly don't have to prevent us doing the work God has placed in our heart.

In closing Craig's session, "Busting Barriers with Mindset Changes" he gave us two assignments:

  1. Find someone who is a few steps ahead of you and find out how they think: Don't worry about what they "do" but try to get "inside" of that person. How do they think? What questions do they ask? What leads them to do what they do? Why do they do what they do? Those are the types of things you should be looking to learn from other people who are farther along in life than you are because you might not be able to model and copy what they do, but you can model and copy how they think.
  2. Identify one wrong mindset and ask God to correct it: The most important element in this statement is asking "God to correct it." If we seek God in prayer, time of reflection, and listen God will show us His will for what we are to do to correct it. Or, the simple task of talking with God about what we need to correct sometimes allows Him to correct it without much effort.

Question: How do you believe we can "bust barriers" with "mindset changes"?

A couple of years ago I received some audio CDs from a workshop Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley did on the topic of momentum at Catalyst One-Day. I found the teachings they shared to be very beneficial and encouraging as a leader.

Over the next few days I will be sharing with you some of the notes I took while listening to their talks. The format will be that I write a statement they shared in their talk, then I will elaborate on each statement a little to explain it to you.

I hope you find this series of posts beneficial to you as we learn about momentum together.

Gaining and Sustaining Momentum 
Andy Stanley

Three things that trigger momentum:

  1. New
  2. Improved
  3. Improving

The basis of Andy's talk is that there are three things that trigger momentum. Something that is new, something that already exists which is improved, or something that is currently operating and is improving. All of those create momentum because we live in a society where we do not like to see things stay the same. We like to see things change, improve, and become better.

Manage toward sameness and lead toward change

Andy described this as the traditional paradox between management and leadership. Management wants to make everything the same so they can manage it, while leaders want to always change everything by leading. Andy says you need both, which I agree with.

There will always need to be things in your organization that are the "same." Things such as a staff meeting, the boss showing up to work, paychecks delivered when they should, etc. There are specific things that should be managed toward being the "same." However, there also needs to be room for leaders to lead toward change.

The job of leaders is to take what exists and what is currently going on and improve them and make them better and even create new stuff. Leaders lead toward change. And, when leaders have a good group of managers who can manage things to be the same, it allows them to do a better job of leading toward change. 

If you have momentum and you don't know why, you are only one bad decision away from losing it.

Sometimes things do go well in leadership and we find ourselves with momentum which is great. However, we need to know why and what created that momentum so we can do two things:

  1. Keep doing what created the momentum
  2. Avoid doing what will stop the momentum

Plus, when you have momentum is just takes one bad decision to lose all of it. Momentum is hard to build, but easy to lose.

It's arrogant to say, "God is just blessin it."

Andy shared this that even though God plays a role in all momentum and success, it is arrogant for people to point to God as the sole and only reason they are having success. Yes, that might be the truth, but when you say, "God is just blessin it" to other people who also work in your industry, it sends a message that "God has chosen us over you" or "God does not like you as much as us" or "God has decided that we are more holy than you." All of those are a little arrogant to say when it comes to momentum and success so when we are giving credit for the success we have we need to give credit to God, but also credit the tangible things we have been doing to create the momentum we are enjoying. 

The worse things are, the more opportunity there is for a leader.

How true this one is. When momentum is dead and there is nothing moving forward in the organization it provides a great opportunity for a great leader to step in and make change. If he is able to lead the organization out of mediocrity, financial struggles, and build up the organization's effectiveness it gives him great leverage and credibility going forward. If he is able to do those things it allows him to cast vision more effectively and helps people trust that he knows what he is doing and that he is doing what is best for the organization.

Most churches do way too much.

I agree with this one and believe it happens in nonprofit organizations as well. I think part of this happens because churches and nonprofit organizations are primarily governed by volunteers and supported by volunteers. So, when someone comes to us and shares an idea or suggests we do something, we think we need to implement it. 

One principle I often talk about in my book is that when someone does come to you with a suggestion or idea, say "yes" except put the responsibility back in their court. When they want to start something new tell them you think it is a good idea (if you really do, if you do not then say so), then ask them what their next step is to getting it going.

As leaders we are way too busy to implement everyone else's ideas so when people come to us with ideas and suggestions (even if they are good) we need to put those ideas and suggestions back into the hands of the person who brought them to us. If they idea was as good as they think it was and if they truly believe in the idea, then they will implement it.

Question: What is your experience with gaining and sustaining momentum?