- Mark Howell
You know that slap on the forehead moment when you realize you overlooked an important detail? Say, in your church-wide campaign or groups launch? Or in a small group leader gathering? Or maybe in your weekly team huddle? Those are the worst, aren’t they?!! That moment when you realize you overlooked something that really was important. And, of course, you immediately begin thinking of work-arounds to fix the oversight, but that moment is awful. Especially when you’ve made the same mistake before! Listen, I still have them too, but I’ve learned to do something that helps prevent them. And you can learn to do it too.
Five Keys to Eliminating Embarrassing OversightsFirst, your event planning process should be begin well in advance of the event itself. An aspect of our planning process that really helps is that we’re allowed/required* to make room reservations four to six months before the event, and in order to make the reservation certain details must be in place (i.e., the purpose of the event, room set-up, web promotion needs, etc.). *I say allowed/required because we cannot make the reservation until that week (which is four to six months prior to the event). As the week we’ll be allowed/required to make the reservations approaches, a basic set of things must be planned. Note: This is helped by our annual grouplife calendar (as we already know what we’re going to do and when we’re going to do it). See also, How To Build an Annual GroupLife Calendar. Second, your event planning process should include a robust discussion focusing on two key questions. Here are the questions:
- What will we call success? What is the win for this event? The answer to this question must be determined at the very beginning. Before proceeding to any further planning, insist on a great answer to this question. See also, Clarifying the Win in Your Small Group Ministry.
- What will have to be true for this event to be successful? Can you see that this is a different question? The first question focuses on outcomes (lag measures). This second question focuses on the action steps and deliverables that produce the objective. See also, How to Reach Milestones That Lead to Your Preferred Future and FAQ: What Should We Be Measuring (to build a thriving small group ministry)?
- Every event you’re planning should have an objective. It is what you’ve already identified as the win or success.
- In order to achieve the win, there are certain aspects (deliverables) that must be developed and delivered. For example, a promotion plan, a team of volunteers for the event, a handout or host kit.
- In order to deliver the deliverables, certain action steps will be required. For example, develop the promotion plan, recruit a team of volunteers, train the team of volunteers, etc.
- Determine due dates for each of the action steps you have identified. Give sufficient time to complete the step.
- Assign each action step to a person. Unassigned action steps do not get completed.
- Calendar follow-up check-ins. Put every check-in into the necessary calendars. Do not leave this to chance or memory.
- Use a process like the 4 Helpful Lists to evaluate.
- Capture learnings and edit your process for next time.