How a Good Plan Gets Your Team On Board

“Leadership is a lot like herding cats.”

No doubt you’ve heard that leadership maxim over and over again. Most likely, you agree with it because you’ve had the same frustrating experiences as I’ve had. One of the “mysteries” of leadership is how to get a diverse group of individuals to come together and move the same direction. And if you’re a church leader, the challenge is even greater because we don’t always wield the same carrot-and-stick other organizations have. Promising people that if they give up everything now, they will be rewarded in eternity doesn’t always produce the same immediate results as threatening to fire them or giving them a giant bonus.

So, how do you get your team on board?

Recently I led a strategic planning retreat at a church in the Midwest with a rich history. They had developed a strong team of committed people, but hadn’t hit their stride in ministry impact and were feeling stuck. We spent several days together unpacking their dreams and coming up with a plan to get moving in the right direction. It was interesting to watch the room light up more and more as our time went on. What started out as a vague sense of frustration ended up in a focused and fired-up motivation to get the job done. As a matter of fact, that particular team has jumped into action and is accomplishing some pretty incredible things. Quite a switch.

I wish I could claim some credit for this turnaround, but the truth is, it was all them. They did something that few teams ever do: they created a cohesive plan together.

Toward the end of our planning retreat, one man stood up and said, “I know I haven’t always been the easiest guy for our pastor to work with, and at times I have been resistant to any new direction for our church. It’s just that I’ve never seen a plan. But now that I have, I’m totally on board.” You could hear a pin drop. And since this guy’s opinion carried some serious weight with the group, the whole room filled with enthusiasm when he said those words.

The difference was a plan. Not just any plan; this was the right plan at the right time, created by the right group of people. Now that team is moving forward and making some major progress for the first time in a long time.

As Hannibal from the A-Team always said, “I love it when a plan comes together!


To learn more about strategic planning retreat, or to inquire about scheduling one of your own, contact The Unstuck Group.

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