A few years ago I was in the airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a city whose sole industry is tourism from the States. The vision of the city is clear: if the people who visit Puerto Vallarta have a great time, they will return and if they continue to return, the city will prosper. As I was sitting in the boarding area, I could see planes taxiing towards the runway and I noticed something that I had never seen before. As the planes were making their way from the gate area to the runway, the baggage handlers and flight line workers had lined the taxiway and were enthusiastically waving good-bye to the passengers on the plane. They got it! They understood the value of each one of those people on the plane. They understood that their livelihood and even the future of their city depended on the passengers of that plane. These workers were the bottom of the rung. They were the last ones to have contact with the tourists and they made sure the vision was clear: We want you back—you are valued!
Can the same be said of your staff? Do they know the vision and can you tie their actions to the vision? The majority of the time when a staff person’s actions do not match the vision, it is due to the leadership of the team. We get so busy making sure events go great and students feel valued that we lose sight of empowering our staff.
Three ways to improve the communication of your vision.
Keep it simple.
Find a few key words that communicate your vision. For example, I use three words to communicate the values I want my staff to have. They are hungry, humble and disciplined. These values describe the kind of staff I want but also the kind of ministry I want to run. I want staff members that are passionate and willing to get the job done whatever the cost (hungry). I want to work with people who understand all we have and who we are come first, and foremost, from God (humble). I do not want to spend my time writing policy manuals and creating bureaucracies to manage people. I want people who will put purpose over preference (disciplined).
Do not be afraid to over communicate the vision. Every time you are in front of your staff, students or congregation, work in the vision. Whenever someone asks me about how the ministry is going I start with, “Well, you know our mission is to develop students to fulfill the Great Commission and based on that, we are…etc.” I know it sounds over the top but people want to follow those with vision. I believe the supreme need of people is to be part of something greater than themselves and a clearly communicated vision meets that need.
One of the strongest tools I use to communicate the vision is to evaluate each event and staff action in terms of the vision. When I was a youth pastor, my staff and I would evaluate every event in terms of our stated purpose. As my staff observed me evaluating my events, it became clear to them the importance of our vision. When I evaluated them in terms of the vision, it reinforced the vision again.
About the Author
Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners who never leave their side. Doug grew up in… Read More