As I shared in a previous post, last week I invested a full five days of training at the Paterson Center to learn more about helping churches develop strategic operating plans. These plans are designed to close the gap between the vision and the activity that takes place in a church or other organization.
This StratOp process is built around helping organizations address six critical questions to help them get unstuck. These are the six questions:
- Where are we now? This question is all about perspective. It’s impossible to develop a plan for getting from here to there and accomplishing a vision if you don’t have a proper perspective of where you’re starting.
- Where are we headed? This question drives our planning. This is basic leadership, but here’s the truth — You can’t get to someplace new if you continue doing what you’ve always done. Of course, you’d be amazed at how many churches really have no plan to accomplish their vision. It’s just words on a wall or a website.
- What’s important now? This question puts our plans into action. Worse than not having a plan is having a plan and then not doing anything with it. This is what I love about the StratOp process. It’s built around action initiatives that prevent the plan from sitting on a shelf.
- What form best facilitates our plan? This is the structure question. For churches, this is a big challenge. They tend to structure around traditional ministry models rather than building a structure around their vision and strategy.
- How are we doing? This question is about management. All you Type-A people love this question. At some point we need to determine whether or not what we’re doing is actually working. Wouldn’t it be nice if we determined those success factors on the front end of our strategy?
- What must change? This questions prompts renewal. Without this question, we ride one vision and strategy until our organization dies. Every ministry, program, event or other initiative has a life cycle. Just because an initiative produced fruit in the past doesn’t guarantee it’ll do the same until Jesus comes back. The message is forever, but the methods must be renewed.
Have you addressed all of these questions? Do you have a specific, action plan in place? Does someone own each initiative? Are you structured around cross-functional teams to experience success? If your plan succeeded or failed, would you have some measurement in place to know it?
Let me know if you’re interested in talking about how I can help you facilitate a focused conversation to address these questions and build your own strategic operating plan. It’s within your reach.