You Assess, You Win
We meant to take action, but the opportunity passed us by.
We didn’t realize that staff person was not doing what we thought they were.
The numbers we thought were right, were actually padded to look better than they are.
A leader we believed was on board just left in a huff.
Sometimes it’s too late.
If hindsight is 20/20, then what is seeing current reality truly worth to us?
Ruthless, brutally honest assessment is priceless when it comes to defining and strategizing next steps in leadership. Yet we often don’t have a process to assess current reality.
Ten years ago – at the recommendation of our friend Julie Bullock – we created what we call a Leadership Audit to assess the leadership conditions of the organizations we serve. Little did we know, this assessment has become a hugely beneficial and needed resource.
Throughout the years, we have found three major benefits when assessing leadership cultures:
- Assessments bring information – and information is your friend
If decision-making is the most strategic thing that leaders do, then fact-based decisions are the wisest decisions that leaders make.
During the prep-work meeting with Bill, the Lead Pastor of the church, he told me that all of the staff were focused on building teams of people to do the work of the ministries, and that they were all developing volunteer leaders.
As I began the audit process with the staff, in this case, one of his key staff people, I asked about the team building focus. I asked these two questions:
- What are you spending most of your time doing?
- How do you find time to build into other leaders?
As you might be able to guess, the staff person wasn’t spending any concentrated time or focus on what Pastor Bill thought everyone was focused on. In assessing current realities, we often find that agreement is not the same as alignment. There are often gaps in our leadership where not everyone is moving forward with the same priorities! Having accurate information allows for alignment to occur at a deeper, more specific level.
- Assessments allow for simple – but simple isn’t easy
What is it about life that makes things so complicated? While I don’t have a comprehensive answer to that question, there are a couple of things that assessing has taught us about complexity.
One lesson is that complicated is easier than simple.
Recently, I spoke with a church planter who had gone from one worship service and one option for connection (small groups) to two services, local mission initiatives, and multiple options for connecting into group life. He needed more leaders, more volunteers, and multiple paths to get people involved and a whole different way to track what was going on.
All of those components were good, and needed, to continue to reach people and build their church.
Immediately their church got complicated.
That was easy.
But when things become complicated, progress, growth and the very things you are seeking by making the changes can actually kill the momentum.
Assessing allows for complexity to be analyzed. Objectively. When we know what is complex, we can create the systems that move the complex into simplicity.
Intentionally bringing simplicity to complexity isn’t easy, but it is necessary.
- Assessments can bring growth – but growth depends on addressing the gap between strategy and implementation
Strategic thinking and planning is one of my favorite pastimes. Now maybe I’m a leadership nerd, but I love to plan and scheme and prayerfully look at how we might be able to look ahead and succeed. I love it. But then at the end of the strategic time, I can get a little discouraged, after all, we haven’t done anything yet. The plan needs to be implemented.
Leaders need to learn to ask these questions – and have answers ready:
- How good are we at follow-through?
- How specific are we at accountability?
- Are we doing what we planned?
As Dale Carnegie wrote in his classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “Often we are good at planning our work but poor at working our plan.”
Assessing current realities allows us to see the gaps and identify the action we need to take to narrow them. After all, a plan is only as good as its implementation.
There are multiple benefits to assessing your leadership culture, but let’s be honest, it is hard to stop what you are doing and give yourself a proper assessment. It’s kind of like changing tires on a moving car.
Additionally, it is hard to separate ourselves from the process. I automatically have a bias in assessing what I have helped create. Sometimes we need outside eyes with an outside perspective to help us truly assess.
Maybe you need help? Intentional Impact brings that perspective to you through our Leadership Audit.
Contact us to Get Started with your Leadership Audit Today!
Our Highly Successful Process – Customized for You and Your Context – Helps You Build Teams That Execute Change
A truly unbiased Assessment is incredibly valuable. Let’s talk about a Leadership Audit and how it can help your team reach new levels. Let me know your thoughts below!