Systems Check

One of the important tasks of a leader is the creation and maintenance of various systems and processes that help make sure things get done in as efficient and productive way possible. Organizations have systems for almost everything, even if those systems are not clearly defined. 

The church is no different. We have systems for discipleship, mission, evangelism, teaching, stewardship, worship, and service. We also have internal systems for our staff: organizational charts, job descriptions, and communications processes are all systems designed to help our staff function as efficiently and clearly as possible. 

Often, systems become complex and convoluted to the point that they're cumbersome and more trouble than they're worth. Leaders have to always be at work refining and re-evaluating systems and processes to make sure they aren't counterproductive. The easiest way to evaluate a system is to look at the primary leader's own response to a system. If he or she is working around the process, it probably isn't a good system. I'll give you an example: 

We are currently in the middle of re-evaluating our process for making communications requests (videos, bulletin announcements, artwork, etc...). We had a system in place that most people were working within. But it was a complex system that involved getting a rubber stamp by two or three people and working your way through several different lines of authority before a request could be processed. There were many benefits to the system, but I began to realize that I (and a couple of other key leaders) were regularly skipping the system and going directly to our communication department for our requests because the other process took too long. 

It was a bad system. Other people were working within it because we told them to and we sign their paycheck. However, if the system doesn't work for the key leaders, why would we think it would work for anyone else? 

If the system is too cumbersome for you to work within, it is too cumbersome for the people who work under you. Simplify your system, and your efficiency will go through the roof. 


Brad said...

I agree Chris, though too often leadership does not stop and ask "Why are we doing it this way?". Being too busy to stop and evaluate is a poor excuse. Good post, what specific systems do you have in place to make your work more efficient? Any updates on the "paperless" office?