This post is another in the series of things that I took away from last week’s Seeds Conference at Church on the Move. They do a great job of bringing in speakers who can speak to larger issues of the church, and those issues can almost always be distilled down to concepts that apply to production team. Such is the case today.
Patrick Lencioni spoke on Thursday and not only thoroughly entertained everyone with his humorous, ADD style, he spoke some great truths. There was way too much content to summarize in a single post, so I’m going to focus on a single facet of his talk, Four Disciplines of a Healthy Organization. I’m going to change healthy organization to healthy production team. These concepts work if you’re fully volunteer, fully paid or a hybrid. In fact, these concepts work for pretty much any team.
Create a Cohesive Leadership Team
Nothing will demoralize and drive a team to dysfunction like a dysfunctional leadership team. And when I say leadership team, I’m talking about whoever is leading the technical/production teams. That may be a TD, a volunteer TD or a team of staff. Even if you are the only staff member, it would behoove you to recruit one or two volunteers to be part of your leadership team. It’s imperative that as leaders, you are all on the same page.
When a team senses that it’s leaders are at odds with each other, they will either play one against the other to get what they want, or give up and go home. Neither is a good option for you.
Lack of clarity is the second thing that will drive a team crazy. When people don’t know why it is they are doing what they are doing, they are not effective. They can even be destructive. The vision of the production team needs to be crystal clear so everyone knows exactly why they do their task. This is important for the big tasks like mixing and the small tasks like setting the stage. The why questions are the most important, yet we tend to spend the least time on them. When building up your team, spend as much or more time on the why as the how. Once people know the why, the how will come.
Most leaders don’t like to over-communicate anything because they think it’s redundant. But here’s the thing—and I’ve said this before—most of your team doesn’t spend their days dreaming about the vision of the church or production team. They have jobs, families and friends. They have their own dreams and plans for the future. If you want them bought into your clear vision, you need to share that vision all the time.
Seeing a pattern here? When you see someone who is doing what you want them to do, reinforce that. Publicly. Look for as many teachable moments as possible. If one of your audio guys takes the initiative to straighten up some cables on stage, thank them for that, and remind them why it is so important to maintain a clean, safe stage. It will feel like you are saying the same thing over and over, but remember, many of your team only volunteer once or twice a month. You may say it six times a weekend to different people, but that may be once a month for each person. When you start hearing your team repeat the vision to new team members, then you’re making progress. Just don’t quit, because they need clarity reinforced, too.
Author Samuel Johnson said, “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” It’s up to us to do the reminding.
Patrick has a new book out called The Advantage and while I haven’t read it yet, it’s on my list of books to read this year. If you want to be part of building a better team at your church, I suggest you give it a read. I’ve read several of his books and have yet to be disappointed.