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3 Challenges that Threaten Your Deadline

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Project Management - Part 4

Deadlines are absolutely crucial to any project. Without them, we have no accountability for achieving our goals. Though important, these deadlines can often seem out of reach. How do we as leaders make sure we accomplish what we need to before the cut-off?

As we continue our Project Management series, we hope you are learning lots about managing your teams and objectives. Today let's tackle our last two points.

7. Get Feedback & 8. Adjust Your Plan Accordingly

Healthy team members are usually good at giving constructive feedback and that usually means the leader has to adjust the plan. Every leader needs to be flexible because things often don't go according to the original plan.

When it comes to flexibility, I think our culture code, "We mess with the methods," stands out the most. To me, this statement gives us permission to try new things in new ways and if one isn't working we can try another way.

I think it's important to remember that what you tolerate becomes your standard so culture will drift where there is no accountability. We guard our culture by creating that healthy accountability amongst our teams. We can do this by scheduling regular intervals to check on the project. Whether that is every day or once a week, we need to make a point to review the progress of the project and make any adjustments if necessary.

You need to trust your team. Even though you have a vision and a plan in place, your team are the experts because they are in the trenches every day making it a reality. If they have suggestions, keep an open mind and listen to what they're saying.

The 3 Ongoing Challenges That Threaten Meeting a Project's Deadline

1. Under-communication

Communication is king and I don't believe it is possible to over-communicate with your team. Schedule weekly meetings or "huddles" so that everyone has the most recent updates and any issues can be addressed. Meet even if not everyone is available and then update those who couldn't attend.

2. Unforeseen Obstacles

As a leader, it is important to prepare for any obstacles in advance as much as possible so that you can handle them before they become big problems. As Solomon said in Proverbs, "The wise see trouble coming and avoid it."

3. Under-resourced Teams

It's your responsibility as a project manager to provide your team with the appropriate resources and information so that they can complete the project on time.

What If Part of the Project Fails?

There is always a human element to every project so you should expect mistakes and setbacks. How you respond to mistakes is so important because it sets the tone for how your team will respond moving forward.

If you overreact, you will create a culture of fear and your team will be afraid to make mistakes and will stop taking risks. If you under-react, you will create a lackadaisical culture and again, what you tolerate will become your standard.

Celebrate!

Breaking the project into small bite-sized pieces and regularly reviewing and revising allows for more celebrations. Celebrate the victories with your team as well as make corrections as needed. What you celebrate gets repeated so it's a way to keep your team motivated as well as a way to establish the culture you want to be repeated.

Accountability is Vital

Accountability is not just correcting what is wrong but is also rewarding what is right. I see accountability in three things:

a) When winning is rewarded.

b) When losing is penalized.

c) When mediocrity is challenged.

If these three things never occur, you don't have accountability and without it there is dysfunction.

In my opinion, accountability is most important in the church, because without it, we can get off course and away from our mission. And we know that our mission has eternal consequences; people's eternities are literally at stake because the church is the hope of the world and Jesus gave us a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

3 Steps to Starting Any Project

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Project Management - Part 1

As leaders, we are constantly starting and finishing a variety of projects. However, the church is an event-driven business. How do we manage our projects without getting stuck in the rut of our weekly programs?

At one of our past All-Staff days, I discussed with our team eight of the necessary components for planning projects. Today, we are going to tackle three of those.

1. Identify your project.

In this stage, it is very important to be specific for a couple of reasons.

The more specific you get with your team, the easier it is for them to follow your instructions and go to work with clear expectations. The leader benefits personally because it brings clarity to their thinking. It is also much easier to follow through on the project when the details have been thought out.

As a young leader, I discovered that taking time to plan may take some effort initially, but in the long run, having a clearly defined project saves time, money, and a lot of headaches once the project has launched.

2. Define goals and objectives.

Your goals are the “what” of the project. The objectives are the “how” of accomplishing that goal. When working to accomplish something with my team, I would inform them of the goal and then ask them, “How do you think we can accomplish this?” Allowing them to brainstorm and be apart of the process of setting objectives will boost their involvement and motivation in carrying out those objectives.

3. Delegate tasks.

Let’s be real, as the leader you can’t do everything yourself. Delegating is a part of giving your team ownership over the project and efficiently completing all of your objectives. It will save you time and allow your team to work together.

Why do Church Projects Fumble?

Church projects can get caught in any one of these points. We often aren’t clear in describing projects and objectives to our teams or ourselves. Sometimes we skip involving our team in laying out objectives or we don’t delegate the specific tasks to our team members to get done.

Skipping any of these steps will cause us to drop the ball. Churches are event-driven organizations that exist to put on weekly programs. We can easily find ourselves in the rut of the weekly grind and ignore the big projects.

With all of this project management to handle, reaching people for Jesus can be somewhat more complicated, but it is more important then ever before. Amidst a lost and uncertain generation, the church is the hope of the world and we have a vision to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

 

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Leading Generation Z

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Marching Off the Map - Part 3

Leading this up and coming generation can be a very daunting task. Parenting especially is vastly different than it was 10 years ago. For the sake of our children, it is crucial that we learn the best approach. On this episode, we are comparing some tactics for best reaching our kids and youth.

Connect, don't control.

These days, we as parents have become very good at protecting our kids but have lacked when it comes to preparing them. We govern their actions, schedules, and relationships to the point where we are no longer doing them any good. Studies show that parents who over-program their children's lives tend to breed children who rebel as teens. To counter this, we need to work on connecting with our kids, building deep relationships that are able to bear the truth when needed.

Achievement, not simply participation.

One of my pet peeves is participation awards. Not just because I am competitive, but because I feel that in an attempt to make people happy, we end up making it worse. According to the American Psychologist Association, healthy and robust self-esteem actually comes from achievement, not merely affirmation. So, in our attempts to protect our children's self-esteem, we are actually creating a new "at risk" child; middle class, affluent kids who are depressed because they never really achieved anything. Let's not assume that simply telling our children that they are special and awesome will build their self-esteem, but instead give them opportunities to work at becoming amazing!

Expose, don't impose.

Elmore says, "Imposing rules and behaviours on this generation carries negative baggage." But we've always found rules and imposed behaviours a favourite default in parenting. It can often be safer, cleaner, and easier for all of us, not just parents. When our children feel forced to do something, they don't take ownership of it and we are simply modifying their current behaviour without affecting their heart.

Make things enticing for your kids so they actually want to participate. In doing so, they will learn more effectively because they will own it. This works in every avenue of life; parenting, managing, leading, etc.

Jesus used this technique. He never imposed truth on people but instead exposed them to it by asking questions and leading them down a path of self-discovery so they could own the answers themselves.

Describe, don't prescribe.

We as parents have the tendency to map everything out for our kids. We are somewhat removing the need for kids to use their own imaginations and creativity. Elmore says, "Instead of prescribing what they should do next, try 'describing.' Describe an outcome or goal, and let them figure out how to reach it with their own ingenuity."

Be real, not "cool."

I think we are a generation of parents who are trying too hard to be cool. We so desperately want to be our kids' friends that, in doing so, we lose ourselves a bit and ultimately we lose them too.

Today's parents have strayed from the authoritarian approach of their parents in an effort to be different. We think that if we can be just like our kids, we will be liked by our kids. So, we try to dress like them, act like them, listen to the same music, watch the same movies and the list goes on. But in reality, grown adults can barely pull this off without being laughable.

Our kids aren't looking to us to be cool, but want us to be authentic. I'd encourage parents to relax and learn to laugh at yourself. Be self-aware, genuinely listen, speak in a tone that is believable, and don't focus on being cool; focus on being real.

People are searching for something or someone real. That's what I love about the Bible. It doesn't "sugarcoat" life, but depicts the raw and real aspects of it. I think it is time for the church to be real, unafraid to discuss some ugliness of this life. Authenticity is why our slogan, "No Perfect People," has had so much traction. The church needs to get where people are really living and reach them there because they need real hope. The church really is the hope of the world, and for every generation, we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

10 Characteristics of a Pioneer - Part 4

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Changing Our Methods and Finding the Right Team

Are you afraid to change the methods by which you reach people? Is your team committed to your vision? Learn how change and the right team are vital to being a pioneer.

Here we are with the last episode of our pioneering series. If you want to listen to the last three, click the "Inside MyVictory Podcasts" tab above. Here is a review of the previous characteristics:

  1. The pioneer is about risk. The settler is about routine.
  2. Pioneers often don't fit in.
  3. Pioneers are dreamers.
  4. Pioneers are willing to go where they have never been, to do what they have never done.
  5. Pioneers are willing to put up with what is less than ideal.
  6. Pioneers always want to go further.
  7. Pioneers are resilient, resourceful, and tenacious.
  8. Pioneers cultivate the tough land.

Alright, let's dive into the final two factors of a pioneer.

9. Pioneers are willing to fight for what they believe.

Hebrews 11:33 describes heroes of the faith as men and women "who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions." Pioneers don't just roll over and play dead when adversity comes their way. In fact, they expect challenges. They know anything good is worth a fight.

I think many of us shrink back from a fight because we value peace over progress. Conflict isn't comfortable, but when we view all conflict as bad, we often don't move forward. Certain conflict is actually necessary and should be expected because, as pioneers, we are in uncharted territory.

We also have the tendency to refuse change. But we have to value the outcome more than our current practices and be willing to modify how we do things. Pioneering in today's ever-shifting culture requires courage and uncompromising commitment.

10. Pioneers are always others-oriented.

By definition, leadership must be others-oriented. Great leaders are noted for their ability to work with teams. To become others oriented, leaders must invest themselves in developing their team's personal and corporate growth.

Pioneers know that their vision is simply too big to accomplish on their own. They must recruit and train a team to help them. In order to recruit the right people, you must clearly define the problem that needs to be solved. Those willing to aid in solving that problem are worthy team members.

In my early ministry, I became focused on the outcome instead of the methods. When I discovered something that worked I stuck with it, and when it was no longer effective, I changed. I am still trying to change and adapt for the outcome. I need to see souls saved and lives changed, or what's the point? After all, the church is the hope of the world and we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches that unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in learning more about pioneers, we would encourage you to grab a copy of Marching Off the Map by Tim Elmore. You can find it here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

10 Characteristics of a Pioneer - Part 3

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Holy Discontent, Leaving Your Comfort Zone, and Blazing New Trails

With a new generation upon us, we need to step up and lead them like never before. How do we prepare ourselves to reach them? Tune in to today's podcast as we take a look at the next three factors of a pioneer.

Hi Victory Nation! We are continuing our discussion about pioneers and if you've missed the last two, you can find them under the "Inside MyVictory Podcasts" tab above. Here is a quick recap of the first five characteristics:

  1. The pioneer is about risk. The settler is about routine.
  2. Pioneers often don't fit in.
  3. Pioneers are dreamers.
  4. Pioneers are willing to go where they have never been, to do what they have never done.
  5. Pioneers are willing to put up with what is less than ideal.

Now, let's get started with the next few!

6. Pioneers always want to go further.

Pioneers always have a holy discontent, a term Bill Hybels describes as an "experience of an uneasy spirit about the brokenness of this world which aligns with the heart of God that spurs us to take positive action to change the world." It's not a discontent about personal gain, but rather a discontent on behalf of God and His kingdom.

Too many people quit just before the breakthrough. Either they stop because it just became too difficult to press on, or because they lost that factor of holy discontent. Pioneers must always desire to go further in taking the hope of Jesus to a broken world.

7. Pioneers are resilient, resourceful, and tenacious.

Pioneers are a tough breed of people who simply refuse to quit. They would rather die than go back to their old, dull way of life. These people are constantly pushing themselves to grow. John Maxwell aptly stated, "If we are growing we are always going to be outside our comfort zone."

To test your limits, pursue your personal best daily. Constantly strive to improve, becoming better with each successive day. This attitude requires that you learn to be comfortable living outside of your comfort zone.

8. Pioneers cultivate the tough land.

Each generation of pioneers must plow a way for the next. We don't have to reinvent the wheel - we can take off where other pioneers have left off.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He didn't stick around forever to oversee the most important work on the planet. No, He ascended into heaven and delegated that responsibility to His disciples and every successive generation.

I think the church needs to pioneer more so today than ever before. In Marching Off the Map, Tim Elmore says, "Settlers will be left in the dust as the young people we lead disconnect from us and find others they can follow to new places. Or, they will forge ahead with no mentors at all." If the world pioneers and the church doesn't, the next generation will begin pursuing the world or simply nothing at all.

Pastor George Hill says, "We dream, we live the dream, and in living the dream we dream again." We have to constantly re-evaluate and re-invent our methods. The message we need to portray is too powerful for us to settle. The church is the hope of the world and we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches that unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in learning more about pioneers, we would encourage you to grab a copy of Marching Off the Map by Tim Elmore. You can find it here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.