The PIE Model (see PIE for Parish Leaders & Staff ) is divided into three key components. This week we will explore the ingredients of Component II: Implementation.
Implementation is often the weak-link in the journey from planning to achieving ministry outcomes. There are several key characteristics that will greatly improve your ability to effectively implement your ministry plans.
In Patrick Lencioni’s seminal work, Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, A Field Guide, he describes a fundamental aspect that allows teams (our church staff and leaders) to fully commit to achieving our planned ministry goals and outcomes:
Commitment embraces two separate but related concepts: buy-in and clarity. “Buy-in is the achievement of honest emotional support. Clarity is the removal of assumptions and ambiguity from a situation.” [pg. 51]
As we noted in PIE Model Component I: Planning, we must include representatives from key church ministry stakeholder groups in our planning process. In this way, their voices are heard, and their experience and ideas are represented in the ministry plans. Staff and leaders who feel heard and who can see how they have influenced the planning process will be more committed to the follow through necessary to implement the plans.
Clarity is achieved by the way the plans are documented and communicated. Planners walk the fine line of providing enough guidance that implementers are moving in the same direction, while not limiting the creativity that can emerge during the implementation phase. As noted, plans must detail expected outcomes that we hope to achieve as we implement the plans.
Staff members must be given a clear set of accountabilities for plan implementation through their performance management process. Action steps should include:
- Updated position descriptions that define and prioritize accountabilities
- Regular meetings with their supervisor to clarify and re-prioritize accountabilities
- Periodic review, evaluation, and documentation of plan outcome achievements
Ministry leaders must also understand their role in plan implementation. Action steps should include:
- Documentation and communication of plan components and implementation accountabilities to ministry leaders
- Regular meetings with staff associated with their ministry area to jointly develop prioritized leadership activity and timetables required for plan implementation
- Scheduled check-in points for mutual staff and leader evaluation of ministry implementation progress
- Willingness to revise plans and implementation strategies based on evaluation feedback
Once our staff and leaders are committed to and clear about their accountabilities, then we must establish team practices that encourage collaboration over competition across ministries. Staff and leaders comprise our church’s leadership body. By working collaboratively, this leadership body will efficiently use available resources to achieve ministry outcomes defined by our planning process. We must avoid our natural competitive spirit. Rather, we need to seek common ground where our implementation strategies are strengthened by a collaborative spirit that seeks the common good of the church versus a single ministry area.
The most overarching characteristic that should describe our implementation effort is intentionality. Ministry outcomes will not be achieved unless staff and leaders are focused on achieving plan outcomes. Ministry outcomes will not be achieved by chance or by wishful thinking. Having a set of plans on a shelf or in a computer will achieve nothing. A leadership body,
- committed to ministry implementation (buy in)
- guided by ministry plans with associated outcomes (clarity)
- strengthened by a spirit of working together as a leadership body (collaboration)
will be the best recipe for achieving expected ministry outcomes for your church.
Next week we will look at Component III of the PIE Model: Evaluation.