Setting Priorities Pt. 2

Yesterday we started off talking about how I approach coming into a new church. Today, we’ll pretend I’ve been here a while and talk about how I’m going to prioritize systems upgrades in a building in which every system needs to be upgraded.

As I alluded to yesterday, a big part will be meeting with the Sr. Pastor and finding our what his desires are. The reasoning on this is simple; he’s the boss--and if I can work with him, things will get done a lot faster. I have seen a lot of tech people come into a new church and immediately start working on problems that bug them; often to the neglect of problems that bug the Sr. Pastor. When said tech people start asking for money for these projects, they get push back and don’t understand why.

Here’s a little tip. Senior leadership will find the money to fix the problems that are important to them. If it’s not in the budget but they know it needs to be done, they will raise the money to make it happen. This is actually a mark of good leadership. What we need to do is work with this principle.

You see, as a tech guy, I see every problem with every system. And every one bugs me. I wish I could start tomorrow and fix them all. But I can’t--and I couldn’t even if money were no object. So what I need to do is find out which ones bug our Sr. Pastor and start working on those. All the problems bother me, so in a sense, it doesn’t matter where I start. And here’s the secret--once we get a few things done that bugged the pastor, he will become our biggest fan. If he says, “We have to fix video so we can get our services on the web,” and we make that happen, he’s happy. It’s actually a win-win-win. First, he’s happy his problem was solved. Second, he’s happy with us for listening to him and working on his problem. Third, we build trust so that when we say, “I’ve noticed that the PA is not what it can be--can we talk about some options to upgrade it,” he’s open to it.

Don’t fight against senior leadership thinking that you’re the expert. Just because you think something is a priority doesn’t mean that it is. On the other hand, you have valuable insight into things that when presented properly can also build trust.

For example, most of the major wireless mic manufacturers have extended rebates to the end of the year for upgrading out of the 700 Mhz range. If you don’t take advantage of that, you’ll miss out on saving some major coin. Present that need to upgrade with by demonstrating that we’ll save $10,000 if we do it before December rather than after, and it’s a lot easier to make it happen.

The bottom line is this: Make your priorities senior leadership’s priorities and you’ll get a lot more done a lot faster.