Why Defining a Clear Target for Successful Outcomes Matters


Often times in ministry we can experience a cloud of confusion rolling over our best laid plans and strategies. It seemed as though everyone was on the same page at one point, but maybe it doesn’t’ look so much like it now.

Have you ever experienced that feeling? Maybe you have had several meetings on an issue and felt like the direction was clear only to find out it wasn’t. Chances are if you have ever had this experience it is because the description of “success” had not been clearly defined for the issue.

Example: How we describe success matters – You invited 20 of your friends to a race this Saturday around your neighborhood, and let them know that the winner would receive a great prize at the finish line. – If that is all the specific information you convey, you have just set yourself up for some unmet expectations and disappointment.

Some of those friends might of assumed you meant a bike race, so they brought their bike, others – running on foot, others – walking, others in their car. Also, your idea of a great prize, might be not so great, to your potential winners after all because it didn’t meet their preconceived expectations of “great”. Typically without extreme and specific clarity of definition, imagination paints a very different picture of process and ultimately success.

If you want a specific type of success to be achieved you must be very specific in describing what it would take to be successfull. Leave nothing in the description to chance and nothing to remain unclear.

As a team you will have to communicate as to what level you have to go into specifics for each project or process. Defining success should not be a practice in hand cuffing your ministry teams or boxing them in. It should, in fact free them up to reach that target in the best way as their skills allow because it gives them the necessary information to formulate a best case scenario solution within defined boundaries.

As a team discuss the following questions:

  • Describe a time in the recent past when we failed to properly define what success would look like with complete clarity?
  • What effect did that lack of clarity have on the team?
  • What effect did that lack of clarity have on the project or process?
  • What are some ways that we could do a better job of defining success as a team?
  • How will we strike the right balance of clear direction and freedom to reach success by using our individual gifts?
  • Is there a project or process on the table right now that we need to define success for, more clearly?
  • How do we achieve consistent clarity and clear definition in our creative process?
  • What new habits can we create that will keep us more focused on clarity in defining success?

By addressing these issues – before the race begins – your outcomes will be much more on target and in full alignment with expectations.

So I will start the discussion by asking you the first question – “Describe a time in the recent past when you failed to properly define what success would look like with complete clarity?”

About Ken McGarity

With vast experience as a successful entrepreneur and active in ministry leadership for many years, Ken McGarity is most recently engaged as a Church Growth Consultant and Strategist, as well as Christian Leadership Coach to today’s up and coming Christian leaders.

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