Today’s Wall Street Journal featured a story on Jim Skinner, CEO of McDonald’s Corporation, and how his focus has been on making McDonald’s better, not bigger. He’s been turning around the massive company, and he listed his “5 Tips for Managing a Turnaround,” and I though they were pretty appropriate for religious organizations. In fact, after each tip, I’ve noted how to adapt it to your organization. Let me know if you agree:
1. Focus on people, leadership development and succession planning. No organization in the world is driven by people as much as churches and ministries. If you can’t lead people, then get out of the way. Also, from a church or ministry point of view, the first generation of media leaders if passing, and most organizations aren’t making plans for the transition. As a result, they get caught up in the turmoil that costs millions of dollars in lost vision, income, and results.
2. Face the facts. Listen to your customers because they will tell you want really matters. When was the last time you sent out a questionnaire in your direct mail letters? When was the last time you talked to your congregation and listened to their feedback? Most pastors and ministry leaders are good at speaking, but not so good at listening.
3. Have a plan of action. Stick with it, align your team around it, and focus on execution. What’s your church or ministry’s strategy? What’s your ministry vision? Do your team members know it by heart? Do they live and breath the vision? Put it on paper, and make it something that can be executed by every employee or volunteer. And speaking of “stick with it,” I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had that after an all day meeting planning strategy, I get on the plane, fly home, and have a message on my phone telling me the pastor has already changed his mind. Give the plan enough time to work or don’t waste everyone’s time!
4. Have the discipline to pursue continuous improvement. Nothing happens overnight, and most organizations fail because they’re not patient. Major change takes time, so dig in for ultimate success. It takes discipline and you have to fight the fear, the second guessing, and the criticism. But it’s worth it.
5. Be passionate and committed to your business. All the way in or all the way out. This one makes the most sense for religious organizations. After all, if we’re not passionate about it, what are we doing? Renew your passion for outreach, and make your church or ministry a well oiled organization with vision, passion, and commitment.