3. Set my initial vision
People wanted to know where I was going with my leadership. I set an initial 7 part vision for the people. I really wanted 3 or 4 initial initiatives, but I landed on 7 – because all these seemed important. They were all things I was passionate about implementing. Some got started faster than others – we are really just seeing a couple of them come to fruition – but the church seemed anxious to get behind all of them. And, just to be clear, I didn’t lead all of these initiatives, but I was the chief vision-caster for them.
In this new leadership position I’m doing something similar. I’m trying to land on a few key areas where we need to grow. The more I limit our reach the better we can focus and succeed.
4. Identified quick wins
I looked for some things I could immediately impact and change for good. These were things I believed everyone could agree with, didn’t require a lot of resources or long debates. There were a few minor paperwork nuisances which impacted staff morale I changed immediately, for example. I invested energy in some areas of ministry which never received a lot of attention, but motivated people. I re-energized some areas the church had previously been excited about, but weren’t seeing much excitement about currently.
In this new leadership position, I wanted to learn some places people were excited about and would rally around again. In our context, that was doing more with innovation and putting pastors in peer groups. We aren’t there yet, but at least we know where we need to fuel engagement.
5. Did the unexpected
It seemed like such a small deal, but I roamed the balcony on Sunday mornings. It took a little more time, but it proved to be a big deal. I talked to the person who would be changing my slides on the screen prior to the service. This was a surprise to them. They said it had never happened before, but it proved to be a big deal. I roamed the halls of the offices during the day, walking into people’s offices, and allowing drop-ins to my office when I was available. All unexpected, but it brought very positive feedback.
I could be wrong, and I’m sure people will tell me if I am, but I’m working overtime to make connections in this new leadership position. Some of these connections might take years to make, but I’m trying to shorten the time. I know it’s valuable to building for the future.
6. Paced myself
I realized I’m only one person and although everyone wanted some of my time and there were more ideas than we could ever accomplish, I knew I would burnout if I didn’t pace myself. This meant I said no to some things – really many things. It wasn’t easy to say no to such eager people, for me or them, but I knew it would prove best in the end if I was able to last for the long run.
I’ve received some similar feedback in this new role. Some staff members have indicated they haven’t spent as much time with me as they would like to in the future. I understand. I feel the same way. I can’t, however, be everywhere I want to be and be effective where I need to be. I have to see the marathon over the sprint.
7. Moved slowly on the biggies
Being honest, there were some big items I knew I’d like to change immediately. I had enough prior experience, however, to know some changes are too big to launch quickly. I could have. I was in a honeymoon period. I could probably have “gotten away with them”, but the people didn’t really know me yet. I might have won a battle, but I would have lost the war. (To be clear, there wasn’t a battle – just using a cliche.)
I’m there again. There are so many things I “see”, but I can’t yet “realize”. I know I must take things in sequence and with patience. (And patience is hard for me.)
This article on the strategies for a new leadership position originally appeared here.