Leadership Journey

Learning to Follow Up, Part 2

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Okay, as promised, here are the questions I use when evaluating an event. (click here to read the first part.)

what did we do?

I use the first part to basically plot out the steps I took in preparing. If there were decisions to be made, I explain my reasoning for making that decision.

I write out time frame notes, including how early or late I started planning, especially if I order shirts or other swag, I want to remember how long it took the artwork and delivery.

Try to be as thorough as possible on the little details, the things that might get forgotten in 9 months when you re-visit the event.

What Worked?

This is where I celebrate the positives, the things that went well. What were the wins from the trip or event? What made the up front effort worth the work? I make a point to highlight things I wasn’t sure would work, but did.

This is important because even in the midst of a disaster, there are going to be one or two bright spots. Dig to find the positive so you can re-visit that energy and excitement down the road.

What to Do Differently?

Finally, instead of just listing out things that didn’t work (which would be the obvious follow-up to the second question), I spend some time dreaming about what could be done the next time to make the event better.

This is the most fun of the three because it allows me to dream. This is also the part that is the freshest immediately after, but the quickest to be forgotten from my memory.

Taking time while the event is still fresh to dream about how to make the next one even better makes all the difference in the world, for me.

One final thought

I use Evernote to file all of my reviews, and bullet points make it easier for me to skim what I wrote.

When I start an event for the second time, the first thing I do is open my review and get going.

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Leadership Journey

Learning to Follow-Up

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Last week I mentioned I was on a trip with my church. This week, I have the opportunity to make some of the most significant progress for next year’s trip, but I have to make the choice to evaluate.

Over the years, I’ve realized I have a terrible memory. I can plan and execute an event, spending hours covering every detail, only to forget the important things in a few months. Then, when the event rolls around the next year, I have to start over.

Early on in my ministry I learned the value of evaluating events. If I take 20-30 minutes the week after an event to answer a few questions, the next event becomes even better. It is an investment in time that pays significant returns.

As a leader, I want the things I do to be fruitful and effective. I want the effort I put in to help impact lives. Because I serve as a Youth Pastor, I want the time I put in to help lead teenagers to a growing relationship with Christ, and those things do not happen accidentally.

Progress requires intentionality. If I desire to get better, it doesn’t happen by accident.

On Thursday, I will share the questions I ask when evaluating. But for today, here’s the question I have for you: when was the last time you evaluated an event? What benefit have you experienced because of it?

 

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Leadership Journey

Communicate Expectations

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I’m on a trip this week with my church. Over the years, during and after trips I realize key details that need to be fixed. This year, I realized something early in the trip: I am the only adult who has seen a schedule.

Our trip is one we have developed, so I wrote out my own schedule. Because I’m the only person who knows the schedule, I’m the only one who knows when we need to leave or stay, or what comes next.

This is okay, as long as I am okay with no one sticking to my schedule. And how could they know the schedule, if I haven’t shown them?

The leadership principle here is simple: communicate expectations.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I have great adult volunteers who do an incredible job of loving kids and forgiving my mistakes.

But over the years I’ve learned that if I am going to expect someone to do something, I have to find a way to communicate my expectations.

This goes for kids when we go on a trip, for adults as we work to point teenagers to Christ, and even when I’ve occasionally coached basketball teams. Everyone wins when you are able to communicate what is expected.

 

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Big Picture, Check it Out

Check It Out – Rows vs. Round Tables

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A few summers ago I took a group of student leaders to a conference in the metroplex. While there, instead of sitting in rows, we sat around tables. We came home and within a few months we made the switch in our youth room to round tables.

The discussion, warmth, and intentionality we have seen from the use of tables has been fascinating. Today, many of the kids in the youth ministry here don’t know anything but sitting at round tables on a Wednesday night.

I found this article very interesting and thought provoking. We do not have the ability in our sanctuary to pull this off, but I am intrigued nevertheless. I do not know if round tables are the final answer, but for our youth ministry, they have made a noticeable difference in engagement and relationship.

Here’s a short clip:

Sunday church services had become just another spectator event. Attendees came, sat, stared, spoke to no one, and went home. It wasn’t a community of believers. It was just another passive audience of disconnected strangers.

But then somebody rearranged the furniture. And things started to change.

Click here to read Breaking out of Sunday Spectator Status at the Holy Soup Blog.

 

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Incoherent Ramblings, Leadership Journey

Learning to Trust

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My youngest daughter broke her leg in January. She spent 5 weeks in a cast. Now she has the cast off, and for the last two weeks she has been retraining her leg muscles, and her brain, to walk the right way.

More than the physical training, though, it’s been interesting to watch as she redevelops trust in her leg. For all of her life, or as long as she could remember, her leg worked the way it was supposed to work. If she walked, it held her up. If she ran, it helped. But then, one day, she jumped and her leg did not do what it was supposed to do–it broke.

Right after the cast came off, she was scared to put her foot on the ground, undoubtedly remembering the terrible pain of the break. Slowly she began to realize her leg was going to work. It’s been slow, but everyday there’s a little more progress.

Trust in relationships works the same way. Many of us have friendships where we can trust the other person, until that trust is broken. Once trust is broken, the recovery takes time.

Some of us have experienced enough broken trust to be wary of trusting anyone, and so the healing takes even longer.

As a leader, one of our roles is establishing and maintaining trust. Because we are human, and because we work with other human, sometimes that trust will be broken. When that happens, make an effort to rebuild the trust, understanding it will take time.

 

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