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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

25 Mar '11

Plan, Do, Check, Adjust

Both the ministry and non ministry world are great at planning but less so at doing. The reason is simple: Planning is easier than doing! And, given our aversion to "failing" that more planning we do the less likely it is that what we do will fail.

This ignores the fact that unless we actually do something, nothing of significance gets done. Planning is simply the antecedent to action and if we spend more time on planning than we do in actual execution (many do) we don't achieve our potential. I could spend all kinds of time planning this blog but until I put it on paper the ideas have absolutely no relevance to others.

There is a rhythm of work that is pretty standard in good companies that would help ministries execute with greater success. It is very simple: Plan, Do, Check, Adjust. 

The plan takes into account the opportunity, resources, and strategy to move a certain initiative forward. It also thinks through the potential unintended consequences, stakeholders, communication and process of rolling it out. It is the due diligence that helps us avoid dumb tax and give us the best chance of success.

Doing, is simply the hard work of working the plan. At some point, more planning will not help, you must start doing. It is harder to find people who execute well than it is to find those who love to plan. Doing is at the heart of good work and successful ministries. 

That doing, however, is subject to regular checking to ensure that what we want to accomplish is actually getting accomplished. It is one thing to plan a small group strategy, for instance, and then start working a plan but it is another to discover that one is not getting the participation that one hoped for. Checking is evaluation of how well the plan is working. It requires a culture where accountability for results actually matters - something often lacking in ministry cultures.

Having checked and evaluated, one adjusts the plan in order to take into account what one learned in the check phase and then one goes back to doing and the cycle repeats itself. 

It is a simple paradigm but one that keeps ministry on track by planning, doing, checking, and adjusting.