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Lecture 10: Objectives
Objectives tell us who is responsible for completing the strategy and when it will happen. While strategic planning is broad based, future oriented, giving direction, objectives are the tactical side of leadership. Objectives are the measurable statements that translate the strategy into operational teams. They get down to the day-to-day functioning of the organization, the daily details. They are the operational plan, and hence are more concrete.
A. Clarity with Regards to the Why Question:
At the heart of leadership is having clarity about the why question. Another word for that is the mission. They have to have clarity and commitment to where they are going. So, it’s the mission, the vision, the strategy or the how. This is the game plan. If you don’t have strategy, you will never be successful or get to where you want to go. If you have the wrong strategies you will not achieve your metrics. A lot of the metrics flows out of the mission; the metrics must be in alignment with the mission. Metrics shows you how you are doing. So, Village’s mission is to worship God, teach the Scriptures, care and proclaim the Gospel. The place for metrics measurability is to figure out or determine how you are doing. I gave a report on our metrics on our radical connection weekend. It wasn’t a great report. Metrics are like the dashboard that tells you really what is going on. If you have good metrics but they are not at the level that you want them to be, that means you have some flawed strategies. Strategies are your means of getting to where you want to go. If you want to see your worship increase, that will not happen without a strategy. One thing, we will have to become more of a community. Perhaps a strategy would be to start monthly dinners on Saturday night to bring people together. What of what leadership does is to decide what is important to measure and what are the things not so important? Do we want to measure a quantifiable number like attendance? That is an indicator of how we are doing. There are other things we want to know. As a metric in worship, we might ask how many people are using the alcove. This is an expression of response. If nobody is using it, this may tell us something about the alcove or about the heart of worship. How many people come early to prepare themselves for worship? Perhaps we would like half of the congregation to come; that is our metric, but our measurability says only five percent are coming. Therefore the strategy isn’t working and so we would have to change it. Another strategy would be to pay everybody fifty dollars to come earlier. Of course you wouldn’t do this but this is an example of a strategy.
Different strategies will work at different times but again strategies change. A strategy of paying people to come would be flawed as perhaps their hearts wouldn’t change. Remember that the mission doesn’t change; it’s as permanent as concrete; it just doesn’t change. The vision however does change but not that often. However, strategies change all the time. A lot of ministries don’t do measurable metrics, instead they use terminology of just being faithful and that is true but this can be a cover for a lot of laziness or inept ministry. What God does call us to be is to be fruitful. Laziness and ineptness is causing eight five percent of churches in America to decline. You can cover a lot of ineptness by using spiritual language. If you don’t have things like mission and vision and strategies to fulfill your vision, you are just going to exist. Or we can see what Jesus did; he had a mission and a vision and strategies to fulfil his mission and vision. Jesus’ mission was to glorify the Father, John 17:4 Jesus says, ‘I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.’ We have the same mission; to glorify the Father for Jesus said, ‘as the Father sent me, so I send you.’ We are not here to determine our mission in life; we have been given our mission. The church has been given its mission. Jesus’ vision provided a picture of his kingdom; a picture of the future. Jesus always kept in front of people, ‘I’ve come to announce that the Kingdom of God is at hand.’ This means that it is here but it is not here; it is ready but it is not yet ready. We live in a strange paradox, a tension of the ready and not yet. God’s kingdom is here now but yet we are still waiting on it. That is the vision. In John 13-17, we have Jesus in the Upper Room preparing his disciples by giving them a vision. Did he have a strategy; the game plan was about starting small, for it was to grow bigger? I will pour myself into these twelve disciples who will in turn take this mission and develop visions to do the things I have taught them to do. Force wasn’t his strategy. This tells us that God by his very nature is missional, visionary and strategic and the church should be the same. We should be the same.
The objectives answer the question, not why, where or how but who. Who is going to do this and when? Objectives are involved with reality; something is actually going to happen. Strategic planning is broad based giving direction; objectives are the tactical side of leadership, the tangible statement, the tactics employed; it is the action plan. Village church has an operational plan where all the pastors and their objectives are listed. The objectives have a date line that is to be filled in when it is accomplished. An operational plan ensures that the listed strategies are actively measured. Remember, we said that leadership is somebody who has followers, influences and mobilizes us toward direction. This is the nature of movement. If you don’t do this the church doesn’t move. The church has to have a movement mentality. This is the same with individual lives; all of us here are either moving or drifting or existing; we are just taking up space. God never intended this for us. People will see movement in our lives if we are missional in our very core; we are visionaries and dreamers. We are strategic in considering the best way forward and we establish certain objectives. I need to do this by this date; otherwise you are only a dreamer.
The tactical side in about the objectives; the tactical side is the responsibility of the staff. Without objectives, strategies only exist as nice statements on a page. The reason that many organizations don’t succeed is not because of poor strategies but poor execution which is the most difficult part. Talk is really easy, it is cheap. If you just have managers, you can do things but you are not sure where you are going. But if you have visionaries and managers, then it becomes workable.
C. Basic Rules for Creating Objectives:
You must make them measurable and have a target date and assignable. For example, the key to metrics: each metric has to have an owner. If it doesn’t have an owner, it will not go very far. So, objectives must have owners. We have to respect fluidity; remember that the further down you go the more fluid it is. So, the operation plan changes all the time. There are new owners and new dates are established. You keep reviewing the alignment within the operation plan. Any changes must be connected to the vision, otherwise you shouldn’t do it. If we do this, how will this impact other situations and people? You need to always link to the strategy and vision. Which objective will help achieve your strategy? Often in church we vote on the numbers instead of the plan; if you want to go through the vision that you have adopted, then this year it will cost so much to accomplish the strategies and objectives. If you vote against the budget, then you vote against the plan. What in this plan do you not want to do? What is it that we can’t afford not to do? We need to always link things to the strategy and the vision. The vision and plan has to be articulated before working through a budget. This must be done by leaders. Rick Warren says that people give to a vision, not necessarily a need. People will give to a great vision to do something for God. So you need to establish measurable and out of this expect accountability. Boards should hold people accountable to the objectives. Yet, some ministries resist this because it takes a lot of work.
D. Decision Making:
So after mission, vision, strategy, objectives and now comes decision making. So do it. We are great procrastinators in the church. We preach that Jesus might come at any time but we procrastinate over doing anything about it. We must have a desire to do God’s will. When Jim Collins listed in his book, Good to Great, the organizations that succeed realize the one non-negotiable is discipline. We are talking about discipline here; it is hard work and it requires constant communications keeping the mission, the vision, strategies which are hard work and the objectives. This takes discipline. You cannot get to greatness apart from this. It requires leadership and without this, it will not happen. It will be a turbulent ride with lots of resistance, especially if people are not used to thinking like this. Sometimes people do define these differently and perhaps move them in different places. In the vast majority of books I’ve read about leadership, this is what seems that most would say, the way I have presented this information. In some contexts, different language may be used. Whether we use different terms or contexts, these four things need to happen. So we are dealing with who and the when here; this is the tactical side. If our vision is grace that connects with failure; our vision is to see a church that is filled with grace. People will realize at Village that in their failure, they will find grace. I don’t find judgment or legalism; that is one of the visions of the church. We want to have people to testify how they found grace. In the objectives, we ask who will do this. We will work through the directory to find grace stories and we can assign a time to start this. So, the objective turns this into reality. In our church, each one of our staff may have eight to ten objectives that flow out of the strategies which flow out of the vision. In our operational plan, every objective has to go back to the vision. Who does what involves the alignment of it. In all of this and it must remain God’s ministry and never turn into a company or cooperation. Some pastors begin to see themselves as CEO’s and this is where they go off the rails as such. They are like a train that derails; they end up a wreck.