Image courtesy of  Ged Carroll

Image courtesy of Ged Carroll

Last time we started unpacking the conflict that can bubble up when someone on your staff, usually in leadership, has a really cool idea that might be hard to pull off. You know, because the technology to do it doesn’t actually exist. I pointed out that most people really have no idea how we do what we do, nor do they know how movies are made (like we do). Thus, they simply have ideas. And as the technical genius in the room, we need to come up with a way to make it, or something like it, happen. Here’s what I’ve learned about that process.

Find Out What the Real Goal Is

If we accept the premise that simply saying, “No,” or, “Yes, but…” every time is not the best response, what then shall we do? I’ve found the best way to respond to a request like that is to hear them out. I learned to love to start thinking about the possibilities. Usually, they are very excited when telling us about it, so I try to respond with, “Yeah, that would be cool!” After hearing them out—and it’s important to hear them out…all the way—then we can start asking questions. 

Our tendency is to begin telling them all the reasons why that can’t happen. We don’t have enough time/people/budget/talent. The technology doesn’t actually exist. But remember, most people aren’t like us. They don’t want to know why something can’t be done. They want to see their dream realized. 

So try to figure out what they actually want to accomplish. In the aforementioned example, the pastor who wanted Iron Man-style air graphics, really just wanted to be able to put some words up in front of people then add to them. Rather than just saying, “No, that was a movie, it doesn’t actually exist…” my friend added, “…but I can come up with something that will get the point across.”

Find a Solution That Accomplishes the Goal

Again, we have to keep in mind that your pastor doesn’t want to know why something can’t be done. They simply want to get across their idea. If we can help them unpack what it is they are trying to communicate, we can figure out a way to accomplish it without killing ourselves. 

Before telling them all the reasons why we can’t mic a 50-piece orchestra that won’t even fit in our room that only seats 350, and besides it’s only three weeks before Easter and we don’t possibly have enough time to pull this off (deep breath…), find out why they want a 50-piece orchestra in the first place. Maybe they just want a more full, classic sound for Easter. There are ways to make that happen that are possible. 

If your pastor wants an Andy Samberg-style video every weekend, you need to have a conversation about the process that it takes to produce it. Invite them along on a shoot and edit so they can learn how time-intensive it is. Find out what they want to communicate and find a way to accomplish it without killing yourself.

All this advice is based on the idea that we don’t start with, “No,” but that we’re finding a way to have a constructive conversation that ends with everyone feeling like they win, including you. Remember, this is the fun stuff. This is why we do what we do—to pull off the impossible; to make things happen that most only dream about; to create something from nothing. Give the ideas a chance, and work together toward a solution.


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