EVALUATION & Clearing the Universal Fog Over 2 Types of Goals: Tactical & Strategic

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/11.15.

One of the primarily culprits of goals not being met is not having “measureable” goals.  And, there are two types of goals that should be measured.

TACTICAL GOALS:  Tactical goals (such as “start an  ESL program” or “launch a new small group”) are specific tactical (i.e. planning) goals that support “broader” and “wide-ranging” church goals.

STRATEGIC GOALS:  These broader, more wide-ranging church goals are strategic goals, and they could be something like: “to have more congregants involved in Bible study, fellowship opportunities and prayer meetings than last year.”  These goals are strategic goals, and they can be traced back to metrics Luke described in Acts 2:42-47. Though Luke was not saying every church needed to use these metric, he did use them himself to describe for posterity “how” the church grew after Peter’s sermon.  For more on these metrics click here … https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/church-growth-a-definition-mcgavran-housedividedbook/

DIFFERENCES:  For more on the differences between tactics and strategies see … https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/measurement-a-reliable-valid-tool-to-measure-church-growthhealth-organixbook/

Leadership Exercise

Here is a leadership exercise to help you think about and differentiate between these two types of goals.  This exercise will look at how we should measure individual tactical actions (e.g. start a new ministry, etc.) and how we should measure bigger strategic goals (e.g. if the church is growing in maturity, unity and service to the community paralleling the metrics Luke used).

A) Listen.  The audio attachment though prepared for my students, will give leaders ideas about how to undertake this leadership exercise.

 

 

B) Read.  This exercise will make a lot more sense if you read the pdf from “A House Divided” that is provided here:  (It is also provided to my students in their weekly course materials).   So, read the “House Divided – Evaluate Your Success” pdf and then listen to the audio recording and you should be on your way toward dispelling the “universal fog” that surrounds most church leadership (for more on the universal fog, see “A Universal Fog” and “The Facts Needed” in Donald A. McGavran’s Understanding Church Growth [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970], 76-120).

C) Discuss by answering the first two questions, and then one of the following of the following questions for discussion.

1) Share two things you learned about the differences between a tactical goal and a strategic goal.

2) Give an example of a strategic goal and then a tactical goal that might support it.

3) Which is usually easier to measure?

4) Which do leaders usually focus upon?

5) What do you think Dr. McGavran meant by the term: “universal fog?”

AN OVERVIEW of MEASUREMENT METRICS: In four of my books I have updated and modified a church measurement tool.  You will find a chapter on measurement in each of these books:

Cure for the Common Church, (Wesleyan Publishing House), chapter “Chapter 6: How Does a Church Grow Learners,” pp. 101-123.
> ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church (Abingdon Press), “Chapter 8: Measure 4 Types of Church Growth,” pp. 139-159.
> Growth By Accident, Death By Planning (Abingdon Press), “Chapter 7: Missteps with Evaluation,” pp. 97-108/
> A House Divided: Bridging the Generation Gaps In Your Church (Abingdon Press), “Chapter 10: Evaluate Your Success,” pp. 202-221.

I explain that church growth involves four types of congregational growth.  It is a seriously incorrect assumption to assume church growth is all about numbers.  It is only 1/4 about numbers and 3/4 about the other types of growth mentioned in Acts 2:42-47.  In the New Testament we find…

> Maturation Growth, i.e. growth in maturity,Acts 2:42-43.
> Growth in Unity: Acts 2:44-46.
> Growth in Favor, i.e. among non-Christians, Acts 2:47a.
> Growth in number of salvations, i.e. which God does according to this verse, Acts 2:47b.

For more see … https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/measurement-a-reliable-valid-tool-to-measure-church-growthhealth-organixbook/

STRATEGIC PLANNING & A Simple QSPM Grid To Assess Which Visionary’s Idea is Best

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 9/17/15.

A former student told how a congregant abused the power of “vision” to push through an idea that was not in the best interest of the church.  The student wished there could be a way to prevent persuasive forecasters from selling the church on ideas, that though they may look good in a vision, in reality are not good for the church.

Here is his observation with some comments on how to evaluate such persuasive vision-casters:

Dear Dr. Whitesel, For years ____church name___  has debated two issues. Do we build an elevator or remodel the kitchen?  The elevator ended up being built.  I remember how it all went down.  A board member gave a vision statement of why we needed an elevator and painted a picture of the future of our church and how an elevator would benefit us.  The board unanimously voted in favor and the elevator was built.”  Sincerely, ___Name of Student___

My comments:

I reminded the student about how we learned about a “Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix” (QSPM).  Basically this is an exercise (via a grid) through which we can measure numerically which of several tactics (e.g. an elevator for a church, a kitchen remodel or teaching English as a second language) will best help a church attain a vision that is based upon a SWOT.

Basically, with a vision statement and accompanying SWOT analysis, the student could then create a Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix (QSPM) and numerically compared the two strategies (elevator or remodel a kitchen).

See Figure 5.8 (Smith, et. al. 2011, p. 100, click to enlarge) to see a QSPM for a church that was comparing its options of either relocating or starting a new service.

FIGURE ©Whitesel Ch MBA Figure 5.8
From this figure, I think you can see that in the ecclesial world we often lack knowledge about management tools, such as a QSPM, that would allow our leaders to make better choices regarding programming.  Usually churches make decisions about programming based upon the four Ps: Proximity (a church nearby tried this program and it worked), Popularity (a new program is so popular that your church wants to try it), Propensity (a leader in the church has a propensity, or partiality for a program), or Persuasiveness (of the presenter – and what happened in this case).

All of these ways to choose a strategy would be criticized in the business world as nothing more than hunches.  This is why many of our lay leaders, who are successful business people, are bothered by our cavalier attitude to tactic selection.  If they’ve taken business courses in undergrad or graduate school, they are already familiar with a QSPM.  And thus they often wonder how we can lead such an important organization as the church without an understanding a basic principles of planning such as a QSPM.Church Leader's MBA cover

Sometimes students struggle with using a Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix (QSPM) and think, “this looks too complicated, I don’t think I will use it.”  But, it is a great exercise for a leadership retreat.  A QSPM can give an actual rating (a number) whereby you can compare two worthy ideas and see which one better matches up with your vision.

Now, you don’t need to use a QSPM every time you have a new idea.  But, when there two competing ideas (like in the story by the student above) then it is best to use a QSPM and get an actual numerical comparison.  It can take the emotional vision-persuasion elements out of important decisions and make these decisions more balanced.

STRATEGY & Is Yours Deliberate or Emergent?

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Henry Mintzberg, in his classic “Strategic Management Journal” article (see link) pointed out that there are two types of strategies: deliberate & emergent. I explored this difference for the church in my book “Growth by Accident, Death by Planning: How NOT To Kill a Growing Church (Abingdon Press). Here is a brief explanation.

  1. “Deliberate” strategies are based upon analysis of strengths, opportunities, etc. (i.e SWOT).
  2. “Emergent” strategies occur when unforeseen opportunities are taken advantage of, sometimes accidentally. Emergent strategies are almost impossible to replicate. But in the church world this is often when we see rapid church growth.

The lesson from Mintzberg’s classic article is to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities, but to spend the majority of your time making deliberate long-term plants.

Strategic Managemtent Journal, Vol. 6, 25 7-2 72 (1985)

Of Strategies, Deliberate and Emergent

HENRY MINTZBERG
Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

JAMES A. WATERS
Faculty of Administrative Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Summary
Deliberate and emergent strategies mnay be conceived as twvoends of a continuumn along which real- world strategies lie. This paper seeks to develop this notion, and So?le basic issuies related to strategic choice, by elaborating along this continum various types of strategies uncovered in research. These includclestrategies labelled planned, entrepreneutrial, ideological, umZ1brella, process, uinconnected, consensuts anld im-posed,

Download the journal article here … http://sjbae.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/93336366/Mintzberg,%20Waters%20(1985).%20Of%20Strategies,%20Deliberate%20and%20Emergent.%20SMJ.pdf

PLANNING & A Better Option Than Just Trial-and-error (A Leadership Exercise)

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 9/8/15.

I created this exercise to help leaders see that strategy planning is often undertaken in the church in a emotional and imprecise manner (and that is something we must change).

And so in previous postings, I explained how to rate various plans with a simple SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Yet some readers and students (especially those with strategic/operational leadership leanings) sometimes find such quantitative analysis a bit tedious. (I did actually when I was in seminary.  But as I progressed through graduate school I came to enjoy research).

Thus for the above two reasons, sometimes those with strategic/tactical gifts and those with tactical/operational attributes will find this exercise helpful.

A Leadership Exercise

Let’s start by recalling that Baumhart asked business people “What does ethical mean to you?” (Church Leaders MBA, p. 29)  The following were the answers he received:

“What does ethical mean to you?”  Answers:
1)  What my feelings tell me is right.  50%
2)  In accordance with my religious beliefs. 25%
3)  Based on the Golden Rule. 18%

Now, let’s see if this also might be true regarding how Christian ministries pick their strategies (and select programming).  Here is an adaption of Baumhart:

How do churches usually decide upon programming?
#1:  What they feel is a good program.
#2:  In accordance with what other Christians and churches think about a program.
#3:  A program based upon a bible passage.

So, pick either #1, #2 or #3 and tell why it isn’t (or is) a good way to choose a strategic ministry tactic.  And, give an example if you know of one.

For example, you might explain why “relying on your feelings” is not a good way to choose a program.  And, you might site a personal example.  Or you might share why basing a strategy on a merely bible passage could be misleading.  Again, you could give an example from your personal history with the church.

Baumhart, R. (1968). An honest profit: What businessmen say about ethics in business. New York: Holt, Reinhart and Wilson.

Smith, Mark and Wright, David. W. (2011). The church leaders’ MBA: What business school instructors wish church leaders knew about management. Circleville, OH: Ohio Christian University.

STRATEGY PLANNING & ; The Essence of Strategy is Choosing What Not to Do

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Many Christian organizations try and do every thing for which they are given an opportunity. This is not strategic thinking. Strategic thinking is deciding what things to do and what things not to do. Napoleon Bonaparte summed up strategic thinking this way: ‘In order to concentrate superior strength in one place, economy of force must be exercised in other places.’ More recently Michael Porter said, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” When leaders are struggling to understand strategy read this article … and remember Porter’s adage.”

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2014/05/3-myths-that-kill-strategic-planning/

STRATEGY & 5 Common Strategic Planning Pitfalls #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Learn how to avoid newbie pitfalls when using a SWOT analysis by reading this article (and in doing so, students can shorten the number of my comments on their SWOT homework). For more insights see the new strategic planning book “Winning the Long Game: How Strategic Leaders Shape the Future by Steven Krupp and Paul J.H. Schoemaker.”

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/paul-j-h-schoemaker/five-traps-swot-analysis.html

PREACHING & Research Shows How to Give a “Sticky” Story #HarvardBusinessReview

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Here is the latest research about how to use story and structure for good communication. Lessons include:

1) use a story or metaphor to communicate,

2) use your own experiences,

3) don’t make yourself the hero,

4) highlight a struggle,

5) keep it simple.”

And here is an insightful quote: “In our information-saturated age, business leaders, ‘won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories,’ says Nick Morgan author of Power Cues. ‘Facts and figures and all the rational things that we think are important in the business world actually don’t stick in our minds at all,’ he says. But stories create ‘sticky’ memories by attaching emotions to things that happen. That means leaders who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others.”

by Carolyn O’Hara, Harvard Business Review

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/07/how-to-tell-a-great-story/