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Execution part 4:The Culture of Execution

For a Minister of Ed during the summer months, especially July, it is hectic.  First you are trying to get your org chart filled to make sure that we are ready for the promotions with new teachers.  Then you are making sure everyone is resourced correctly.  Then on top of that we are making transitions for new initiatives during the year, so there is another piece to put in the puzzle.  Then there are women's ministry needs, men's ministry needs, and the list can go from there on.  In fact, the way that I have been able to execute apart from daily prayer is by having a check list.  As we all know there are seasons of ministry where the demands are higher than others.  There are times when execution is critical.  I agree with what Bossidy states: The basic premise is simply:cultural change gets real when your aim is execution.  I think that statement is very applicable during this season.  How many times do we say we need to execute and yet it isn't our aim, it's only our casual view.  We are dead in the water and behind the ball on execution is we are not focusing on executing.  Often times the church can be in a place where there is no execution and we as leaders are called to lead our groups to execute, to excel, and to see where the Lord leads next.  This often time can be seen with a quick turnaround in that the people are hungry to see execution to be a reality.  Other times, it's like digging someone out of quicksand; in that it can feel like its going nowhere.
So what does it take to lead to have a culture of execution?

1. Give clear expectations.  This is a great lesson learned again from One Minute Manager (Blanchard).  State goals and expectations in one minute.  I have been practicing this with individual leadership meetings that I have been holding with teachers of groups.  I am telling them here are our main expectations for them as a leader and what our goal is (develop leaders to group positions).  The goal itself is one line and very easy to understand, but it will take everyone working on this together.  I am giving them the timeline to have it completed (one year).  We are taking this process of giving clear expectations to our annual leadership meeting for groups (Sunday School).  For the Outreach, Ministry, and Fellowship leaders we are giving them one main task to do and then one goal to do.  Think about if we have everyone that seeks to do that one goal, we have built up our groups.  If we also have people to excel then we have gained in execution.  It begins though with simply clear expectations that are communicated.

2. The What to What exercise.  To lead people from a place of non-execution to execution you are going to have to communicate what behaviors need to be changed.  Paul was great at doing this in his teachings.  Look at the letters he gave and you will see him speaking of how for people to grow in their faith they had to learn the true meaning of growing in their faith (in Christ).  This lead many to a change in their behavior and beliefs.  He was always quick to show the place where they were and where they were now.  This helped them and motivated them to execute.  It's important to remember as Bossidy says: Behaviors are beliefs turned into action.  When you go to lead people to execute show them the place where they were not executing to where they are now.  In the book Leading Change this is emphasized by showing people small wins along the way.  To show them how they can execute will build up and encourage even more execution down the road.

3.  Focus more on the software instead of the hardware.  This is a concept that Bossidy shares about how every organizations has the parts that are similar to a computer in that you have the hardware and software.  The hardware is the structure, design, and communication flows.  The software is the parts that bring the computer to life.  It's the programs internally, the values, the norms of behavior that exist.  There are some that believe you can execute only by having a healthy hardware.  As long as the outside is great, then everything else will be taken care of.  However the norms or values still need to be addressed and healthy.  It's important to remember that it is in the software portion that beliefs and behaviors are practiced.  So  if we want to have a culture of execution; having a nice structure to our hardware; we also need to focus on building healthy software.  When these become linked together you have a place for great execution to occur on a consistent basis and you will see the culture begin to change.

The value of a leader knowing these things will always help in changing the culture.  Remember where you aim is where you will lead people.  If you are aiming towards casualness and no real execution, do you really think the people you are leading will execute?  However, if you really want to lead people to execute aim that way.  Go for it!

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