Managing a small team to deliver that all important strategy. Some ideas.

Like many organisations, the one I work for is engaged in a round of strategic planning – why are we here, where are we going and how will we get there? 

Most stratagems, I am told, fail! This is usually down to what’s called a “strategy execution gap”. I take this to mean that you’ve thought lots about what you’re aiming for but much less about how you are going to do get there and what resources you need.

Another reason for failure could be that many people believe that there is a thing called simplicity. I’ve never really believed that anything is truly simple – even if it’s made to look so. We should be full of joy that the world is endlessly complex and all the more beautiful for it. H.L.Mencken said “for every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”.

Anyway, the reason I am writing this post is to share the output of a fairly recent creative brainstorm (with the permission of the participants). It was in the context of a small operational team considering its needs within an organisation.

(These answers, though clear and simple, may be wrong!)

Value talented people

  • Make sure everyone is happy and focussed
  • Keep everyone communications and coordinated
  • Provide them with the right tools for the job
  • Appreciated everyone, each for their unique talents
  • Listen, consult and make no assumptions
  • Make it fun (or at least enjoyable)

Make participation and inclusion a habit

  • Build a diverse team with complementary talents
  • Include all stakeholders in the processes and decision making where possible
  • Value both big and small ideas and contributions
  • Have no favourites, enjoy difficult but honest people

Build creative partnerships

  • Build networks of talent and expertise both internally and externally
  • Transform talking into concrete action as quickly as possible
  • Take care to share ownership of projects with respect for other stakeholders
  • Be open about your agenda and prepared to negotiate and trade
  • Confess to gaps, be willing to combine effort and assets for greatest impact
  • Share knowledge, stories and information generously
  • Be hospitable

Create a culture of innovation

  • Fail often and learn lots
  • Make resources available to encourage innovation
  • Find new approaches to old work
  • Value disruption and change
  • Build on the ideas of other people

Provide the best resources

  • Provide the best and up to date tools
  • Make decisions based on the highest quality information
  • Create spaces for dialogue and sharing ideas
  • Seek out the best training possible
  • Don’t be afraid to pay for good stuff
  • Realistic budgets

Living differently

We live in an apparently divided and competitive world. Our leaders are vulnerable human beings within a prevailing culture which separates the winners from the losers, the strong from the weak.

We build our towers as high as we can. We build so that we can impress our neighbours not in order to serve them; upwards not outwards.

The world economy is one in which we compete to influence what people think, feel and believe. It is a tough and often brutal economy of ideas.

The important trading routes are no longer international shipping lanes but the optic fibres and satellites uploading and downloading ideas; each trying to corner the market.

God has given us a different reality. It is not a product that can be bought or sold, not a lifestyle choice or the next big idea. You can’t buy shares in the God’s reality. God’s reality is the world made as he/she intended. And it is here, if we look for it. Surprisingly nearby.

God’s world is one in which we are able to live together, share ideas and work towards communities without fear, free from poverty and injustice; where all people are valued for who they are and have a place at the table. It is not a divided world and doesn’t separate the winners from the losers.

This world is the real world because God came to make it real.

Jesus was and is a real person who engages with people at a personal and intimate level. He is the everyday messiah. He is divine and yet takes an interest in people as they go about their daily lives without favouritism. He brings hope to the worst of us. The early church with its examples of hospitality and community living has endured and is important to us now.

How can we choose God’s vision in the everydayness of our lives? What does it mean to model God’s reality in the way we live and work together? Is it enough to trade ideas and win arguments – or do we first need to quietly and modestly become the idea? Living differently.

Continue reading “Living differently”

Hope on the Edge – Prayer Our City

Wellsprings Together Bradford and Welfare Reform Impact Bradford are local organisation (or which I’m a part) help inspire and coordinate poverty responses among the faith groups. Twice a year they put on an event called Hope on the Edge at Bradford Cathedral which aims to bring together those working to alleviate poverty and transform communities.

On Sunday May the 7th our gathering this time will focus on HOPE for our Bradford Episcopal Area. Representatives of churches, groups and organisations from across the district are invited for a time of creative reflection and prayer.

You will be able to engage with a range of varied prayer styles – explore stillness; reflect through art and music; pray corporately, urgently and creatively.  Listen to Stories of Hope emerging in Bradford – seeds that indicate the new potential in times of adversity and disappointment.

Join us for an evening of creative prayer in Bradford Cathedral on Sunday May 7th from 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm.

Just turn up or let us know you’re coming on this link

More info info@wellspringstogetherbradford.org.uk

 

What makes a flourishing city?

Went to an inspiring evening at Bradford Cathedral last night bringing together a wide representation of people representing the City. Flourishing City asked what it takes for a city to flourish. There were some very influential people there including senior management from the council, church leaders, faith groups and activists. Here are my notes.

Jerry Lepine the dean was great. I have to applaud his enthusiasm for the subject of ‘city’ and the welcome he gave. He introduced the evening by saying the cathedral belongs to the City – “it is your cathedral” he said.

We are not about just delivering big shiny boxes, we must step back and allow the next generation to come through endlessly curious, telling stories and connecting people.  [Kersten England]

Continue reading “What makes a flourishing city?”

Digital Mental Health Checker

The government estimates that one in four people in the UK will suffer from a mental disorder (whatever is meant by that), and that the cost will be £105 billion to the economy. Shockingly 75 per cent of problems will start in young people starting by the age of 18. But is this just about numbers?

cf

A distressing number of young people are on the edge of their emotional capacity, and indeed there have been three tragedies among teenagers which have come to my attention in the last few weeks. I can’t begin to imagine how we cope with that.

Continue reading “Digital Mental Health Checker”

In Search of Welcome

Here’s a little piece about welcome from Charles E. Rice.  In it he talks about everyone’s search for welcome as a search for ‘home’.

Even better, he says, is giving welcome. When we offer our fellow pilgrims welcome we find “the welcome we ran home to on cold or lonely nights”, it is “portable, elusive and holy”. 

Charles seems to be pointing to the kind of welcome that brings the eternal concept of home into the ordinary experiences we share.

Continue reading “In Search of Welcome”

Reconnecting with ourselves, with each other and with God

I went to Wakefield today to do some mission planning work. Unusually I took a break to get lunch from a very impressive sandwich shop. The friendly owner was eager to share thoughts about how Brexit would impact on the local people. I took my sandwich to the cathedral which provides a welcoming and accessible space for prayer and reflection.

wake

 

Continue reading “Reconnecting with ourselves, with each other and with God”

Who is my neighbour?

A really wonderful discussion last night led by Bishop Toby Howarth and organised by the Thinking Faith Network in Thornbury, Bradford.  The bishop took the parable of the Good Samaritan and the question to which it responded.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ … and, Love your neighbour as yourself.

Continue reading “Who is my neighbour?”

Places of Welcome in Bradford

POW-smallAs part of my job I am working towards setting up a number of places of welcome across Bradford. Places of Welcome is a specific idea pioneered out of a city wide consultation in Birmingham about what makes a city welcoming. The Diocese of Birmingham then set up the Places of Welcome network.

A Place of Welcome has a sign outside a building saying come on in. Places of welcome is not a new idea but what I like about this version of it is that it’s a very clear and simple proposition based on five principles; It has a very clear set of values and an ethos to which supporters can readily subscribe. Continue reading “Places of Welcome in Bradford”