Alignment Isn’t Optional

We’ve all had experiences where our team wasn’t aligned. It’s hard to make progress. It can lead to frustration and at times it can make us question our calling. A lack of alignment is exhausting.

I’m not suggesting being aligned as an organization is easy, in fact, I would say alignment requires a lot of work but it beats the alternative.

The keys to alignment come in all shapes and sizes: clear wins, consistent meetings, shared values, common language, and many more. Some of this you can control, other things not so much. So, what can YOU do as a leader to help your organization become more aligned? I would like to propose that it requires us consistently working from three perspectives. ON, IN, ON.

Work On Ministry

Taking time to work on our ministry means we are willing to elevate to that 30,000 foot view of all that we do to make sure the steps we are taking are clear to everyone involved. As the old saying goes, sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. Getting a different view of your ministry will allow you to see where you are getting off course. Check this out: If you were traveling by plane from San Francisco to Washington, DC, and were only one degree off course, you’d miss DC by 42 miles! You can see how a little misalignment can make a big difference.

Work In Ministry

There are things that need to change in the day-to-day operations of your team that can make a tremendous difference. Make sure that you are finding ways to repeat what matters most to staff and volunteers regularly. Remember: the values we live in every day are oftentimes values that cross your volunteers’ minds a couple of hours each week.

Work On Me

Sometimes I’m the problem. There, I said it. I know on more than one occasion I’ve needed to check my motives and personal preferences at the door to ensure that we stay aligned. We’ve got to take time to work on ourselves. Carey Nieuwhof is a great friend who is the best at checking his personal motives. After sharing frustrations and challenges, he always asks if I hear anything that sounds off about his tone or character. All of us could take a little play out of Carey’s playbook here. Who is helping you evaluate how you are doing?

There’s a tendency for us to say we are too busy to do all this. The truth is, what we are doing is too important for us not to be aligned.

Practically speaking, what if you set aside three 20-minute blocks on your calendar each week labeled ON, IN, ON to make sure that you are spending a little time each week working on alignment? It could be an hour a week that completely changes the trajectory of your ministry.

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