Posted in Leadership

Free On-Site Training & Coaching for Your Church

In the first quarter of 2017, I’m calendaring an in-person consulting time for a church. I will do these at zero cost* for the church I select (I’m grateful for serving a church who wants to serve other churches and allows for this).

If you’re interested for your church…

Consider  the “practical takeaways for everyday church leadership” topics I’ve blogged about at Brian Dodridge.com, and if you feel I may helpful to you as a church leader, to your leadership team, or perhaps to a larger group within your church—I’d be honored to consider a day long or day and half long trip to your church.

My selection of the churches to consult will be based on:

  • Your preferred date of consulting time working on my calendar
  • My assessment of whether I can be of help to you in your ministry context
  • Perhaps geography (I’m open to long U.S. travel if I believe it’s a good use of time)
  • And there will be preference given to those who subscribe to my weekly blog

 

If you’d like to submit a request that would occur January-April in 2017, email me and respond to the following:

Who: (church/organization and website if you have one)
What: (preferred topic[s])
When: preferred dates
Where: (geographically)
Why: (Why you feel you could use the help/outside perspective—just an idea is fine, it doesn’t need to be lengthy)

I’ll follow-up with all who submit a request within three weeks.

*If I agree to serve you in this way, there will be no financial cost to you, nor will it be accepted.

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A Simple Tool for Measuring Idea Support

How do you know when your idea is gaining consensus within the group? In groups, there are usually two kinds of people – those who express their thoughts without prompting, and those who rarely express their thoughts.  If you’re not careful, you’ll allow those who do speak to speak on behalf of those who don’t, and you may start believing that the ideas of those who spoke up are reflective of the whole group.

And then there are times when most everyone speaks up. You exchange ideas and opinions about a new idea or initiative and yet, you can’t quite determine where the group is with it. For it? Against it? Indifferent?

When I arrived at Brentwood Baptist Church the church’s senior leadership team used a simple tool to quickly ascertain how a group felt about an idea. By simply holding up a finger to represent a number on a scale, you could get a snapshot of how the group felt about an idea.

In our case, Jim Baker would scribble the following words on the white board:

Love it – 5

Like it – 4

Live with it – 3

Leary of it – 2

Loathe it – 1

Then all at the same time, each individual in the meeting would hold up their hand and represent their feeling about the idea with a certain number of fingers. We’d total the group’s finger count, divide by the number of those voting, and get a snapshot of support for the idea.

The vote average will come out 3.7 or 2.1, or some days, 4.9. (This is usually when we ask questions like, “Are you in favor of adding vacation days for our staff?”)

I use this tool from time to time in meetings I lead, and when I do, it can usually tell me if…

  • The idea already has traction
  • The idea is going to require more talk, work, and support gaining
  • The idea is Dead On Arrival

I’ve written before about the importance of you as a meeting leader establishing whether you’re looking for consensus or simply asking for input. If you employ this voting tool, I suggest you let your group know how and why you’re using their votes. (You can read the consensus blog here.)

It’s a simple tool that’ll allow you real-time results during a meeting to gauge how far along an idea or concept is from getting instituted or going away.

I hope this blog post gets a 3+.

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The Value of an Incomplete Answer

The meeting was tracking well. One particular individual was contributing helpful information and insightful remarks to those in the meeting. But then… they couldn’t stop. They kept talking. Before long, their extra contributions caused us to forget what their meaningful content had been.

One more point, one more remark, one more anecdote. It soon becomes white noise for all those listening.

You’ve heard it. And if you’re like me, you’ve done it.

In a recent episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Barnabas Piper and Todd Adkins had Simon Sinek as their guest (you can listen here). Sinek recounted participating in a meeting early on in his career and really being the person in the meeting who could speak with the most authority about a particular project the group had been working on. And he did. And most of what he said really mattered. But as they were leaving the meeting, a mentor of his put their arm around him and said:

“Three quarters of an answer is better than an answer and a half.”

I’ve written about this topic in a previous post titled, Being Prepared, But Saying the Least (in meetings). But Sinek’s mentor’s remark provided me a clear word picture for this practice of knowing when to stop contributing, and reminded me that  a few comments too many can be the difference between meaningful content and dragging on.

Take freedom in knowing:

  • You don’t have to know everything.
  • Everything you do know you don’t have to share with others.
  • And (as Sinek says in this podcast) even when you don’t know, you don’t need to pretend you do.

Giving an answer and half isn’t all about ego. Not everyone who gives more than three-fourths of an answer is trying to make sure everyone knows they’re a subject-matter expert. Sometimes, the topic is so important, they believe putting everything out there is critical.

But it’s rarely critical. And if it’s important for everyone to hear a comprehensive answer, a well selected three-quarters will prompt others to ask for more explanation, whether inside the meeting or outside it.

A filter: less is more.

Or a second filter: does this last three-fourths I want to say really advance the conversation? Advance the meeting? Advance the cause? Or is my next contribution really about me?

The second filter got me yesterday. I found myself in a situation where I wanted to say more. I wanted to make a strong point. And yet, I was thinking about this blog’s content. It’s not easy (and I’m not revealing how well or not well I did yesterday) but either way, I believe and will try to practice… three-fourths of an answer is better than an answer a half. I hope you’ll do the same.

P.S. Also, don’t forget: sometimes we shouldn’t even speak the first three-fourths.

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