There are principles of quality that look at how an organization manages itself and asks the question:
Are we doing the right things? in other words is our focus on doing those things that get us closer to achieving our mission.
Are we doing things the right way? Are we efficient and effective in what we are trying to accomplish?
And lastly are we doing these right things (mission focused) the right way (efficient and effective) the first time and every time to ensure predictable results?
Are we doing the right things?
We need to look at what we are spending our resources (people, time and money) on and ask the question if these things help us achieve our mission?
Are we doing things right?
Have we found the best (right) way to do those things that help us achieve our mission? How do we ensure that we are doing things efficiently and effectively?
Are we doing the right things right the first time?
For example, once we determine our priorities and our approach, can we achieve this the first time (and every time)?
In other words, let’s say we have determined that a priority is to make visitors feel welcomed.
We develop a process to identify and reach out to church visitors. So we need to ask ourselves, is our approach to doing this consistent every (first) time we interact with a visitor?
So how do we decide what the right things are?
This is when having a written vision and mission statement is so important. The right things are determined by church strategy, which is determined by the vision and mission. When the organization can articulate what its purpose is (mission) and what it is trying to achieve (vision), it can guide decision making and prioritize the use of resources (people, time and money).
The strategy maps out the steps to achieve the mission and it is those tactical steps that determine the right things to be doing.
For example, let’s say your organization has a strategic objective to reach teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19.
The question is asked if the church should spend resources on a youth facility and sound equipment. To answer this simple question, ask a second question. What is our mission and how does this initiative support our mission?
If the answer is yes, then the resources should be committed and budgeted and if not, the answer is a simple no.
How do we know if we are doing things right?
Doing things right means having a systematic approach to ensuring products or services are done the right way, and with excellence.
Excellence is determined by the level of commitment there is to create standards (how do we do things), training (employees/volunteers) on those standards and to hold people accountable to adhering to those standards.
For example, let’s say there is a strategic objective to make visitors feel welcomed and comfortable when visiting your church. Service standards have been created and volunteers have been trained to demonstrate welcoming behaviors – being friendly, smiling and engaging. Once these standards are agreed to, and employees/volunteers are trained, they should be mentored and coached to ensure consistency in practice. This consistency is what creates excellence when doing those right things, right.
How do we do the right things right, the first time and every time?
We have identified what the right things are. And we have talked about doing things the right way, but how do we do that the first time, and every time?
Consistency comes from training, observations, coaching and reminders. We can all relate to learning something – a new skill. We do it for a while and over time get lazy, look for shortcuts or just forget the correct way of doing things.
Schedule time with your leadership team to do an annual review of policies and procedures. Take the time to modify and update them as trends, priorities and strategies change. Then schedule annual refreshers with employees and volunteers.
Investing the time to conduct annual refreshers is just good business practice. Take the time to review policies, procedures and standards as part of ongoing training for employees and volunteers. As part of the training, remind people of the ‘why’ behind what is done.
For example, remind volunteers that when they welcome a new baby and mom to Children’s Church, they are helping the mother feel comfortable handing her child over to a stranger and possibly offering her the opportunity to sit in church without distraction or interruption.
This simple act could have a significant impact on the life of a busy mom and who knows the significance. This is why helping employees and volunteers remember why they do, what they do, is so very important.
Doing the right things right, the first time and every time is what creates a culture of excellence. In his book Deep & Wide Andy Stanley says, “If you don’t define what excellence looks like for your staff and volunteers, they will define it for themselves.”
When you stop and think about what you are trying to accomplish, and be intentional with using the resources God has provided, you can’t help but create an environment that people are drawn to and want to invest in.
Photo by: Matt Madd