There is a disease that impacts the world of leadership, and that disease is called “Nonthinkitis.” (Okay, that’s not at all what it’s called, but I wanted to show a prime example of the stupidity that happens when you don’t stop to think about something. Mission accomplished? Good. Let’s move on.)

Leaders seem to always be moving at a high-octane pace. Because of that, they often make fast paced decisions that look fuzzy under the microscope of time and implementation.

We’re no exception to that in the church world.  A last minute decision on Thursday afternoon can have far reaching implications on Sunday morning. One seemingly insignificant change in one seemingly insignificant area can have ripple effects throughout the rest of the church’s ministries and systems.

Here are some of the questions I try to process when implementing a change on our weekend First Impressions team. And in case you’re wondering, most of these questions were added as a result of that previously mentioned microscope.

  1. What are we trying to do? The better way to phrase this is with a Stephen Covey statement: begin with the end in mind. Knowing the end game is the most effective way to develop a plan to get there. And thinking through what the end result will look like will keep us from unintentionally rebranding our product (see the photo for a prime example of this).
  2. Who needs to know? Rarely is a decision made for a team that affects only that team. If I’m changing the way we seat latecomers, I have to notify the folks at the auditorium doors. The greeters in the lobby need to be aware, as well. Think through the potential glitches that could occur if a particular person or team doesn’t have a heads up.
  3. Who needs to weigh in? I learned a long time ago I can’t make a decision in a vacuum. Before my staff and I pull the trigger on a change, we typically get buy in from the leaders that change will affect (re-read #2). More often than not, those conversations yield better ideas than we had on our own.
  4. Does this change have to be implemented right now? Sometimes, the answer is yes. But often, the implementation can come as a soft launch that gives us a chance to work out the bugs before it becomes official. Case in point: when we instituted a new seating plan to accommodate overflow crowds, we spent three weeks intentionally experimenting and tweaking our plan before it became law.
  5. What written systems will be impacted? One of the primary areas we tend to overlook are the already documented volunteer job descriptions, set up diagrams, and training materials. This is probably the largest area that we have to think through and inspect, but that time investment pays huge dividends when our systems stay in sync.

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll explore the dangers of what happens when we overthink. But for now, what are some questions you’d add to the five above? Comment below.

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