Ten Things We Learned in the First Quarter of 2012

A few weeks ago during a team meeting, we made a list of about 50 lessons we learned during the first quarter of 2012. Here are just ten of them.

1. Tell people what they are going to get. In February, we traveled to nine cities and hosted a free workshop on how to increase church giving. At the beginning of the event, we told people they weren’t going to sing and we weren’t going to the normal conference entertainment. Setting their expectations on the front end helped people appreciate the helpful content throughout the day. When we launched Preaching Rocket in March, we clearly described what the first 12 months of coaching would look like. By giving a good overview, we were better to engage people and let them know what to expect.

2. One right person is better than ten average people. We have an org chart with lots of empty boxes, but we learned that one right person is better than ten average people every time. The right person gets other right people, so the domino effect is tremendous.

3. Tiered deadlines are better than one deadline. Instead of just setting one final deadline for a big project, we learned that creating several smaller deadlines along the way work much better for us. When it comes to web and print projects, seeing the direction in time to make changes is important.

4. Helping people is a good business plan. I heard someone say that if you start a church to reach hurting people, you will always have an audience. The same thing is true for business. Our plan is really just to help pastors, and we think that’s a good way to do business.

5. It’s not going to be perfect and that’s okay. There comes a time when you have to just ship it, and realize that done is better than perfect. Striving for excellence is a good thing, but when you set the bar at perfect, you’ll just never get there.

6. Margin prevents you from overreacting. When you have margin in your calendar and margin in the bank account, you don’t have to run all over the place pursuing every opportunity. You can take more risks because you know there’s a cushion.

7. Knowing your core values really is important. Knowing our core values, and actually fleshing them out in real life, helped us say no to several things and kept us focused on the important things. Core values aren’t verbal gibberish – they are very real filters for decision making.

8. One liners are contagious. We recently spent two days in a cabin crafting memorable one liners for an upcoming book, and many of those statements made their way into resources and talks. And sure enough, those one line statements ended up being retweeted and spread around the web.  Two days on about 20 sentences might sound like a lot of work, but it will pay off.

9. Don’t get too high and don’t get to low. It’s easy to throw out everything when something is not going right, and it’s easy to overcommit and run too far ahead when things go well. We learned that the wise thing to do is be slow and steady. Everyday is more important than the big day, whether the big day is a good big day or a terrible big day.

10. It’s okay if everyone isn’t your customer. I honestly believe Giving Rocket and Preaching Rocket are no brainers for most churches, but there are a few churches out there that should NOT join. I still get disappointed when someone decides not to become a client, but then I remember that it’s okay if everyone doesn’t work with us.

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