Tag Archive - stratop


Why the Key to Flexibility in Leadership is Planning

A good plan that can’t be changed is a bad plan. If you’re inflexible you’re going to find executing a plan to be nearly impossible. No matter how much preparation you put into it there are still going to be unforeseen obstacles. You may find you have the wrong leader executing the plan. You may have underestimated the resources required to execute the plan. Or you may overestimate the pace at which the plan can be properly executed.

But make no mistake about it; planning is the key to flexibility in leadership. Without it you become stuck on the treadmill of what’s urgent instead of what’s important or worse the organization is constantly trying to change direction to keep up with the short attention span of an entrepreneurial leader.

Planning affords you the opportunity to be flexible

When you plan your work and work your plan you position yourself and the organization you’re leading to lead from a position of strength instead of weakness. Leading from this position of strength affords you the opportunity to be flexible. Organizations that don’t plan well create the illusion of flexibility and an “organic process,” while the reality is they’re usually struggling just to keep their heads above water.

Planning creates margin for innovation

Innovation requires the right environment to take place. It takes smart people, an infusion of resources, time, the right amount of pressure, and a problem to solve. Organizations that don’t plan well don’t have the time, resources, or people to allocate towards innovation because they’re always running to the next thing or trying to stay afloat.

Planning allows you to respond to opportunities

Preparation for contingencies is a part of good planning. Providing the people in your organization a clear picture of the future and a plan to get there actually provides you the luxury to leverage and take advantage of opportunities when they come along because you can filter each opportunity through the lens of the destination and the plan. Does the opportunity fit our destination? Does this opportunity speed up our plan?

Few churches have a great planning process. Most don’t even have a good planning process, if they have a process at all. I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger priority. Planning is certainly biblical. I don’t find many pastors who would really take aim at that fact. You’d have to throw out a lot of Proverbs, if you decided to.

Everyone likes to talk about stewardship and the stewardship of Kingdom resources, which involves a lot of wisdom and planning. So, if I have to put it in this context, learning a great planning process is good stewardship of Kingdom resources.

At the Unstuck Group we’ve been helping churches with strategic planning for quite a few years now, and we’ve seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t. We believe in the process the team at The Unstuck Group uses. It’s a proven process that produces results. You should really check it out!

Posted in Leadership


The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

Great organizations prepare for opportunity. Preparation is all about positioning. Making decisions today that position you for opportunities that may come tomorrow. The Roman philosopher Seneca is credited with saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” In other words luck favors the prepared. Lucky organizations are prepared organizations.

Great organizations plan for the future. In fact they plan their work and then they work their plan. Planning is all about inflicting your will on the future, and the best way to have a preferred future is to plan for a preferred future. Great organizations have an uncanny ability to build a clear strategy and exercise laser focused discipline as they execute the strategy.

So what is your church doing today to prepare for opportunities that may come your way tomorrow? What are you uniquely doing to position yourself to be able to say yes to opportunities that Jesus brings your way? At the same time what is your church doing to build a clear strategy that, coupled with disciplined execution, moves you towards the vision that Jesus has given you for the church you’re leading?

Fortunately the Unstuck Group has experience helping churches build a clear strategy that aligns the church and provides steps to move you towards the vision Jesus has called you to. You should really check it out!

Posted in Leadership


The 5 Most Common Core Issues Facing the Church Today

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tony Morgan to discuss one of the Top 5 Core Issues Facing the Church Today. We discussed both internal and external communications.

You see at The Unstuck Group we’ve worked with a lot of churches in the last couple of years, and we’ve started seeing some trends in the core issues that keep coming up. So, we conducted a small research project to identify the top five most common core issues of the churches we’ve worked with in the last year.

When we work with a church on strategic planning using the StratOp process, the church ultimately discovers several “core issues” they believe are the most important things holding them back from being the church God has called them to be. After identifying those areas, they can make plans that will actually move them forward.

Here they are:

#1 Spiritual Formation

#2 Communications

#3 Mission/Vision

#4 Small Groups

#5 Leadership Development

Interested in learning more? You can follow this link to get the videos and further detail on how your church can dig into each of these 5 core issues.

Posted in Leadership


Top Posts of 2014 #6: “4 Indispensible Truths about the Art of Planning”

We’re almost half way there on our countdown of the Top 10 Posts from 2014! This one in particular is one I see churches struggle with frequently. And it doesn’t have to be that way!

All of us have been in planning meetings before with a team that seemed to have had a break through moment. You know, that moment when everyone says, “Yes! That’s exactly the direction we need to move, and that’s exactly how we need to get there from here!” There was energy, excitement and unity as everyone left the meeting. But the more time that passed after the meeting dismissed the more that energy that was there faded and the less movement towards actualizing the plan took place. In fact a large majority of planning meetings don’t actually provoke much real change in most churches and organizations. Here are 4 reasons why many of your plans aren’t really getting you anywhere:

1. Planning is Hard Work

Anybody who tells you any different is lying to you. Not only do you need to have the ability to get the stakeholders in the room but, there are some key questions you’ve got to wrestle to the ground. There are probably a lot of things we could do, but what must we do? What plan best fits and reinforces our culture? How will we resource the plan? How do we know if the plan is working? What staffing structure best suites our plan? Will the plan actually get us where we want to go?

2. Plans Don’t Self Execute

No matter how incredibly airtight your plan is, no plan self executes. You’ve taken the time and put in the hard work of putting a plan together and in so doing you’ve taken one of the first steps in making vision real. But now comes the really hard work. Executing the plan.

3. No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy

I have a long and rich military heritage in my family. Maybe that’s why I love this statement so much…because that’s where it comes from. All great Generals and Military Leaders know that no matter how well conceived that plan is at Head Quarters; Officers on the field of battle are the ones who are actually leading their men to take the hill. The enemy never behaves exactly as you expect him to. Great Military Leaders understand the art of making adjustments on the fly all while keeping their eyes on and men moving towards the objective.

4. A Good Plan that can’t be Changed is a Bad Plan

If you’re inflexible you’re going to find executing a plan to be nearly impossible. No matter how much preparation you put into it there are still going to be unforeseen obstacles. You may find you have the wrong leader executing the plan. You may have underestimated the resources required to execute the plan. Or you may overestimate the pace at which the plan can be properly executed.

Is your church stuck? Need help clarifying where God is taking you? The Unstuck Group can help you clearly articulate you mission, vision, and core strategies while build alignment and movement towards your future through prioritized action initiatives! Follow this link to learn more!

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Posted in Leadership


4 Principles of Highly Effective Churches

This past week the Unstuck Group met in Atlanta for our annual planning and team gathering. Not only is it an incredible team to be a part of but also it’s incredibly rewarding to help churches all around the world get unstuck, which ultimately results in the Kingdom of God taking ground and more people saying yes to follow Jesus!

There is genuine excitement on the team, a sense of unity of purpose and calling to help churches get unstuck, and frankly there’s momentum. But even with the positive momentum and sense of winning there were a few key principles that came up repeatedly in our time together. And as a local church guy at heart I was reminded of these four key principles that all highly effective local churches employ.

1. The Team Outperforms the Individual

It was exciting and humbling to be in the room with the whole Unstuck Group at the same time. It really is a high powered, highly talented, experience rich group. When you hire the Unstuck Group you’re not just hiring a single consultant, you’re bringing the experience of the whole team to the table. As we dreamed about the future and built plans to get us there it was incredible to watch the team make ideas stronger than any individual would alone.

2. Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan

An old Japanese Proverb states that, “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” Most churches are either busy daydreaming or stuck in a nightmare. Fortunately the art of planning and turning vision into focused action is a core strength of the Unstuck Group. It was fun to apply tools that we typically use to help churches get unstuck to our own future and action required to get there.

3. Guard the Gate

You become who you hire. Successful churches are borderline fanatical about who they allow to join the team. They know that people build culture and with each hire they either move closer to, or further away from the culture they’re trying to build.

4. Lean into the Fountain of Youth

Every great ministry started as an idea, but not every idea ends up being a great ministry. The key question is are you generating new ideas? Do you have a drawer full of “fountain of youth ideas” to implement when the time is right. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. And you’ll age out as a church. Great churches innovate, are idea rich, and discover new solutions to old problems.

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Posted in Leadership
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