This topic has been on my heart for many years. It's always painful to watch organizations slowly die. If your men's group or church is on life support, I hope this article can help you make a full recovery! Some of my examples for doing things right come from my experience working as a project manager in corporate america. I can already hear some of you now, "you can't run the church like a corporation!" No, you cannot run your church exactly like a corporation, but thriving and innovative organizations understand how to learn and borrow from others, so that you can improve your situation.
Now, let's start the countdown...
#3: You Are Destroying Your Organization by Not Planning
Proverbs 21:5 - "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."
"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" - Benjamin Franklin
Dying organizations do not plan, or do not plan well. They often throw events together at the last minute. They may say, "it's easy..I've done this before...let's just do it and not waste time."
What happens when you don't plan? you forget forget to involve key players that will make your event a success. How well will that panel discuss run, if you forgot to contact the media crew to manage the sound and run the screens. You also go over budget. I've seen fundraisers lose hundreds or thousands of dollars because they didn't plan well.
Here are a few tips for effective planning
- Develop a Calendar for your organization. Don’t wait until November and say "can we do something for children in need this Christmas?"
- Do a Budget. Do a budget for your organization and do separate budgets for your events. Don't authorize an event or fundraiser without knowing what everything will cost IN WRITING. Don't accept "I think or maybe". And also set very strict guidelines in situations where you may have to reimburse someone for an expense. Provide guidelines in writing on the maximum amount they will spend or how much you will reimburse them for.
- Do a "Lessons learned" session. At the end of every major project in corp environment, we do a lessons learned session to figure out what went well and what needs to be improved. All organizations should do this so you don't make the same mistakes over and over, and to prevent your awesome event from becoming stale.
#2 You Are Destroying Your Organization Because You Fear Change
Ecclesiastes 3:1 - For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven
One of the biggest complaints you will hear about church people is that they hate change.
“If worked in 1916, it should work in 2016!” Although our belief system or mission may not change, the way we carry them out should. I think most people avoid change because it takes them out of their comfort zones. I may be very comfortable recording the sermon with the cassette deck, but no will purchase them because their cars and homes have CD players or people want a digital version they can listen on their computers or smartphones.
We have to be willing to change, if our organizations are going to survive. For example, You have to be willing to accept alternative ways of receiving money, since so many people don't carry cash. You have to be willing to communicate with people in a variety of ways, including text messages and social media, because so many people are glued to their smartphones and tablets. And you have to change simply because the thing you have been doing for the last 20 years hasn't yielded any positive results.
#1 You Are Destroying Your Organization Because You Have No Vision
King James Version (KJV) - "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
The Voice - "Where there is no vision from God, the people run wild, but those who adhere to God’s instruction know genuine happiness."
Items #2 an #3 will be difficult to overcome without a vision. Organizations without a vision do not have unity. You don't have to be the size of a mega-church to see a lack of unity. I've seen it in groups as small as 10. Odds are that a group with no vision will never grow to the size of a mega-church. Organizations without visions are in silos, or in other words, a big group made up of smaller groups that don't work well together. Organizations without a vision also lack excitement. The few people that do show up are only their out of obligation. "I'm supposed to go to church every Sunday." "I'm supposed to attend this meeting every Wednesday." If these people aren't excited, I can guarantee they won't be able to encourage others to join your organization.
What is a vision? It is simply what you want your organization to be in the end. Also, it can't be something that is easily attainable. If your organization can easily meet the vision, then it probably didn't come from God. Once you find your vision, it must be shared and sold. A leader's vision is nothing if the members cannot buy into it. The organization has to own the vision in order for it to be realized. Otherwise, the people will "run wild"! When people buy into a vision, you won't have to beg them to volunteer or come up with ideas. They come up with new ideas and solutions on their own.
This was also recorded as a podcast: 3 Ways You Are Destroying Your Organization.