Just bought an HP Deskjet printer for less than $100 and plugged it in. Took about 45 minutes to set up so that I could print wirelessly from any of my devices: iPhone, iPad or computer. Amazing that with very little effort that everything worked without a hitch and it required no wires to connect. Great job HP for delivering a good product that made my life easier!
Another cool feature is that with their web services, I can print from any where in the world to my home printer. Not sure that I’ll use that, but just in case I need to print something from Haiti to my home in the US, they’ve got me covered.
I recently had the opportunity to go flying with a friend. Several key things I noticed that apply to my everyday life:
1. Checklists are important – they help you remember critical details no matter how many times you’ve done something
2. Dashboards help – if you don’t have the right indicators in your view, you could drift off course, run out of gas, or run into someone else
3. Good communication is key – someone to guide you who can see things you don’t see can help you navigate safely to where you are going
4. Have a contingency plan – you never know when something may happen you don’t expect. Be prepared to take an alternate route.
“Replace Yourself” was a value that was lived out at my former employer. I moved from being a consultant to project leader after I developed other consultants. I moved from project lead to manager after I developed other leaders. Before I left that organization to join Gateway, I was promoted to Director because I had developed another manager.
I was reminded of that principle in Haiti, because at Mission of Hope, every staff person has to develop someone new to do their job. Here are a few benefits of people development:
1. Every team member has opportunities to move into new roles with additional responsibility as the organization grows.
2. If someone leaves the organization, then a replacement is ready to advance the mission, rather than having to stop momentum or move backwards.
3. Depth is created within the staff so that people are ready to play multiple roles.
4. A culture of development is created so ‘stars’ are identified and lead the organization to new levels of performance.
Who is your replacement? What are you doing to develop them?
So out of 11,000 people that attended Christmas services at Gateway, only 50 people gave via text. That’s a pretty poor response. We linked text giving to a specific initiative: resourcing needs in Haiti and India, but it just wasn’t an effective way for our audience to contribute. They did rally and give in other ways, so overall the messaging was effective…thousands of peoples needs will be met, so I can’t complain…just won’t use text giving again anytime soon.
I was recently asked what our policy is for launching a new initiative or ministry. While we don’t have anything formal, here are the general guidelines that I’ve followed:
1. It has to tie into helping us accomplish our mission – there are a lot of good things you can do to accomplish what you’re church is about, but will this initiative really move you forward in doing what God has asked you to do? Launching new initiatives can be a drain on resources, so make sure this ministry is going to be a net gain.
2. Have a budget – If there are dollars needed, determine ahead of time where the budget is going to come from and who is going to be accountable for revenue and expenses.
3. Identify a volunteer leader that can be the point person – if you don’t have a leader with a vision and time for the ministry, don’t launch. Too often things get added to already overworked staff and the ministry flounders and eventually fades away. Maybe consider delaying the launch until a solid leader is on board for at least the first year of the ministry (There is another set up leadership criteria that should considered to ensure someone is spiritually ready to lead)
4. Identify who the staff person is that is going to support and serve the volunteer leader – it’s important that volunteer leaders have the full support of the staff and believe the staff is there to love, support, and equip them to lead.
5. Develop a clear plan of implementation – the staff leader and the volunteer leader should have the full support of the management team in launching the ministry. There is a lot of coordination that takes place that often requires time for a lot of different areas: communication, teaching, kids, administrative, reception, etc. so make sure everyone on staff and key leaders understand the implementation plan.
6. Evaluate and give feedback – once the ministry is launched and the leader is leading, we tend to just assume everything is running smooth unless there is a crisis. Rather than wait for everything to fall apart, have a plan for regular review. Is this ministry doing what we originally hoped it would? Is the volunteer leader performing the way we hoped?
Spent the last week in Haiti. So many stories to share that I’ll write about over the next month. One of the things I was amazed by was Mission of Hope’s clear vision and strategy to transform a nation thru the love of Christ. After only a day of being in Haiti and hearing the founder of MoH talk, I could clearly tell you their vision and how they were going to do it. I could also tell you stories of impact in each of their focus areas. How did they do it? They kept it simple: transform a nation through the love of Christ. Do it through the church, caring for orphans, providing food, education, and medical care. From their clear vision and focused approach, a nation will change. What’s your vision? How are you going to accomplish it?
I’ve been reading through Exodus where God is meeting Moses and giving him all the specification for how to build the first mobile church building in the desert. There were all kinds of specifications for the dimensions, the clothes priests must wear, etc. If I were Moses listening to God, I’d be thinking, “That’s great, but we’re out here wondering in the desert, and you want me to do all that?”
Then in Exodus 31, God says, to Moses, “I have chosen Bezalel and filled him with the Spirit: with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts and trades… and I have appointed Oholiab to help him.” God had given Moses the guys on the team to help him accomplish all he had asked him to do. God knew that Bezalel would need help, so he gave him Oholiab. God knew that the two of them would need help, so he put them in charge of a whole team of craftsmen. God even gave the skill to all the craftsmen. Just another example of how God includes us in his work and provides us what we need to accomplish it.
As I take on more and more responsibility in my role, I find that I begin letting my calendar and email dictate my day. After letting email control me for a few weeks and I start forgetting what I should focus on. One thing that I’ve recognized is a pattern to my week and month. Recently I put the ‘rocks’ (projects) on my white-board and noticed I spend a portion of my week (sometimes a portion of each day) on these projects. Interestingly, as I look at each week or month, there’s a rhythm and pattern to the things I spend my time on that repeats consistently. I began putting these projects on my calendar and intentionally allocating time to think, strategize and work on them. Recognizing this pattern has allowed me to stay on top of the ‘rocks’ rather than feeling the weight of them.
After many important projects or events, we fail to evaluate whether we accomplished what we set out as our objectives… actually many times we fail to set objectives before we set out to accomplish something important, but that’s a topic for another time.
When we do set objectives and then complete a project, it’s important that as a team, we evaluate how the objectives were achieved so we continue to learn and improve.
Here are a few simple questions I’ve used to debrief with a team on the backside of hitting an important milestone:
What did we identify as the target (successful outcome)?
Where did we hit the target?
Where did we miss the target?
What would we do different next time?
How do we celebrate (if appropriate)?