Have you ever been in a team meeting and there is a problem that someone identifies that your team agrees needs to be fixed. Lot’s of ideas are thrown out and the conversation basically ends with a “yes, let’s work on that” and then nothing happens. If you’re a leader, especially one that has a team with great ideas, this describes a pitfall that you want to watch for. It is the lack of assignment to ideas that the team has decided to implement. If other words, WHO is going to be the point person and WHEN is it going to come into reality. This is especially true in a ministry setting with very little staff or volunteers. (By the way, I’m still working on this one – ask my team!)
Let’s say your team thinks its a good idea to reorganize the look of the entry way of your welcome area. The environment is outdated, cluttered and unorganized. Everyone on your team says its a great idea and then dives into what should be done. “I think the couch should be on the right side wall instead of the left side,” one person says. “I think if we take down that wall, it will feel more welcoming,” another says. Again, everyone agrees that something needs to be done and begins to offer ideas. They’ve jumped into the WHAT and even the HOW.
At this point, you as the leader, need to hijack the conversation and ask or assign the WHO and the WHEN before the conversation continues to spiral. Who is going to take the lead on the remodel and when can we expect it to be accomplished (or at least a presentation of the next phase)? You don’t assign the WHAT or HOW. What needs to happen to the welcome area can then be a brainstorming session to expand the possibilities for the person in charge of that project. How it happens is dependent upon the point person. A good leader rarely, if ever, assigns the what and how unless it is critical to the functioning of the organization.
Now, the point person can take the suggestions, build his or her team and present an outline of the what, when and how. I also suggest that the point person give a why statement that include a ‘so that’. Using the above example, it could say something like “the purpose of this project is to update our welcome area so that our clients and employees are inspired when they encounter our company during the day.”