We’ve explored the importance of planning for any church or organization. The cadence or rhythm and culture of planning have also been areas of focus. No church or organization can or will have sustained impact without planning. From a service or gathering, to discipleship, teaching, right through to succession of senior leaders planning is something that will be done over and over again. And, depending on the issue, you need different people. So, with aspect of planning who should always ask, “Who should be around this planning table?”
The temptation, especially in smaller teams or organizations, is to include everyone. You don’t need everyone for every decision or plan that needs to be made. So, how do you decide who should be around this planning table?
The sound person, unless he’s an elder also, doesn’t need to be involved in planning the succession of the senior leader. The children’s minister doesn’t need to be involved in planning the men’s retreat unless it relates to him / her.
The more people you have in the room the higher the likelihood of moving slower. There are more voice and opinions to be heard. Not all input is equal. This isn’t to say that those people might not have valid opinions or perspectives.
Having too many people in the room can be a challenge in congregations where almost every decision is communal. The point: sure that you have the right people in the planning process.
Many years ago, a pastor I knew bought sound equipment to the dismay of his sound and technical team. He was deceived about the quality of the equipment and its cost. Pressured by the salespeople, he made a terrible call.
Some planning requires specific expertise. Involve financially savvy, qualified and skilled people when doing financial planning. You get the idea. There are times you might have to reach out to people outside your organization or staff for help.
Planning with expertise at the table can save you and your team lots of pain and loss or abuse of resources.
With some projects or planning not everyone is needed at every stage. In a football team other players can be engaged in the game but not playing on the field. Keeping everyone informed of developments is important. This could be achieved through agreed means of feedback.
So, don’t involve everyone when they not needed at that time but update them of progress.
Who Should Be Around This Planning Table?
- Who does the buck stop with it?
- Who is ultimately responsible for making some decisions or calls? One of the ways leaders and teams end up in isolation is being excluded from planning that impacts them and their work.
Silos are sometimes created accidentally because we didn’t ask who should be around the planning table, and why?
- Who are we doing this for and how do we make sure that their voice is heard?
Of course, there are scenarios where input isn’t necessary or wise, but it is good to ask the question(s).
When it comes to planning, depending on context, you don’t always need everyone, every time. Free people up to focus on what they need to focus on. Also, make sure you’re clear on what role, expertise and contribution each person (should) bring(s).