This week the team I lead at Discovery Church is holding an offsite we’ve called, “Operation Refresh.” After four years of pursuing the same vision, we believe it’s time to have a rigorous look at what we are pursuing, why we are pursuing it and how we plan to get there. We are also sharpening up our culture and working out how we lead our teams through them.
It’s a huge commitment from the team. 13 people in a room for two days. Assuming we work for eight hours that’s 208 hours work. As the leader, it means we MUST contribute to something meaningful and fruitful.
Here’s how we did it; I trust it helps you.
Have extraordinary clarity on the win for the team.
Knowing what we wanted to get at the end of the two days was essential. Having a framework that would serve us getting there was important as well. It’s essential you are clear on the outcome you expect, so you have something to march towards over the time spent working ON your organisation, and something to evaluate the end of your time together as well.
When you know what your destination is every step you take, can be evaluated towards that goal. There is power in intentionality.
Be willing to lead the process but not control it.
This is a critical self-discipline issue for you as a leader. Your voice, your opinion, your reactions all affect how the room feels about what’s being discussed. And like it or not, because YOU are the leader, your voice is louder and can have a greater impact – for better and for worse.
Be prepared to guide the room, question the room, influence the room and importantly, SERVE the room. Above all, choose not to control the room you want WE language during and at the conclusion of your time together.
Work hard. It’s an energy OUT experience.
Loads of energy is expended on these experiences, and for good reason. Those in the room most likely feel like the work being done is important, and no one meets to do an ordinary job (or at least they shouldn’t.)
Put away your technology so the experience is relational. Take breaks, drink water, get fresh air and sunlight. All these simple yet practical steps serve the experience.
Focus on solving problems.
I live in the Church world and the corporate world. Both have problems, many quite similar. When the focus of the team is centred around making something healthy, function better or remove a roadblock you can really dig deep and solve it. Ask the hard questions, think laterally, keep challenging each other to make it better than it was. Ignore limitations for a period of time and blue ocean your discussions. Keep making your organisation, your team, your church healthy.
When you find that one log that jams up all the others, you will be amazed at what flows from just that one key problem getting solved.
Be clear about what needs to change and why.
The concept is not unique, but it has been popularised by Simon Sinek in his Start With Why Ted Talk. You can be clear about what needs to change but you can be compelling about why it needs to change. Why makes you feel the change. Why helps you see the importance. Why gives you a sense of the cost of it not happening. Why makes your work worthwhile.
Clarity on what matters. It really does. Why makes me want it real bad!
Follow through. Have a dashboard that tells you what’s working (and what is not).
For those that know me, I’m not practical, mechanical or in any way useful in that area of life. My motto for all things of that nature is #outsource – anything and everything I can pass off to a more credible and skilled individual I will. Even with working THAT hard to avoid it, I know when my car requires attention because my dashboard tells me. A light comes on. A noise goes off. An alarm sounds and gets louder when it’s more urgent. You must set up a way of knowing when something has been done, but more importantly, knowing when it HASN’T. The cost is often in the omission of priority.
When good work gets done don’t waste it on a system that doesn’t rigorously evaluate implementation and action. If it matters to figure out what to do and why then it must matter to actually do it.
#leadsmall – because when you do, big things can happen.