Yesterday I wrote about the dilemma I’m currently facing–having to do more with less. As our staff shrinks, those of us that remain have to take up the slack. To keep from working ourselves to death, we are leaning more on volunteers to augment our roles.
The trick is getting started. How do we decide what to “farm out.” What jobs can I reasonably expect a volunteer to do, and what jobs to I need to keep on my plate. If you find yourself in a similar position of demands exceeding your ability to meet them, your answers may well differ from mine. Part of the process is to determine who I can call on, what their gift mix is and how much time they have available. I need to find people who are passionate about our community, and who have the time to give to it. It helps if they actually have skills as well.
Another issue is figuring out how to parcel out tasks. Do I turn them over completely and stay hands off? Or do I set up the process then provide oversight to my team leaders. Again, this is going to depend. I’ll give you an example. I currently am responsible for our set up and take down teams each week. After spending a few months learning their jobs, recruiting additional volunteers and developing a process for scheduling and set up and take down, we looked for community members to lead those teams. We now have 2 highly capable women as team leaders. I have pretty much turned over leadership to them. They now send out reminders each week to the teams, confirm everyone, find subs as needed and direct the teams on Sunday. I help out when needed and continue to recruit. What once took a lot of my time now takes less than 30 minutes a week. That’s leverage.
When it comes to my tech teams, the first thing I’m going to attempt to parcel out is training. I’ve wanted to get a regular training regimen going for a while, but I haven’t had the time. So, I’m going to look to my most capable volunteers and ask them to start leading regular training sessions for the teams. I’ll help with content, subject matter and scheduling–at least up front. Eventually, I’d love to have that running on it’s own. I will still need to have some involvement in this, but I should actually be able to get more done through the help of volunteers.
When it comes to our website, I’ll probably be more hands on. I’ll need to be involved at a high level, helping to determine functionality, content and structure. I’ll need to lead a yet to be formed team of people to make it happen. While I expect to spend a fair amount of time on leading, I don’t plan on spending a second coding. I could, but I don’t have the time or the expertise. And I have other things that I need to do.
Some of the best advice I ever received in this area was from a Worship Pastor I worked under. At that time I was a 10 hour a week Tech Arts Director. I was trying to figure out how to get everything done, and I wasn’t succeeding. She told me I needed to determine the things that only I could do, do those things, and lead others in doing the rest. That was good advice. I’m going to be leaning heavily into that over the next few months, and probably years.
So what about you? Are you being faced with doing more with less? How do you prioritize what you have to do and what you can delegate?