Why Consistency Matters

Why Consistency Matters

I’ve come to find that most creatives don’t enjoy consistency.  In fact, most creatives kinda shudder at the word. I think it gives off the feeling of the mundane; we automatically go to thought of doing the same thing over and over again. Consistency has definitely got a bad rap when it comes to creativity and leading teams of creative people. Creative people by nature tend to look for what is new, what is fresh. So to lead a team of creative people, you have to actively and continually change the perception of consistency.

Trust is built with consistencyLincoln Chaffee

The former governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, summed up consistency in an elegant and easy to remember phrase: “Trust is built with consistency”. If we take a moment to pull out of our creative team and think about all of the volunteers it takes to put on a weekend service, the necessity of consistency becomes a bit more obvious. If you were to put yourself in a volunteer’s shoes, imagine coming in to serve on the weekend to find that things are in disarray, computers aren’t ready, equipment is malfunctioning, a musician’s avoim unit isn’t working, etc. If this was the exception and not the norm, there’s probably a lot of forgiveness. But for most churches I’ve visited and seen, unfortunately, this is the norm. Every time a volunteer comes in and things aren’t ready it says a few things to them:

  1. We aren’t prepared and you shouldn’t be either.
  2. We don’t value your time and you shouldn’t value ours.
  3. We don’t take this seriously and you shouldn’t either.

Read any book like Great by Choice, Crucial Conversations, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and you’ll quickly realize the obvious. The success of any team is built on trust. When a volunteer comes in week after week, giving up their time and energy to serve in your department, and everything is ready for them, meaning they have what they need to succeed on the weekend, trust begins to form.  And when you have a team that fully trusts each other, watch out! There’s not a challenge the team can’t conquer.

Conversely, when we are consistent in having things ready for our volunteers it says a few things to them:

  1. We are prepared and you should be too.
  2. We value your time and you should value ours.
  3. We take this seriously and you should too.

Imagine now taking the same ideas of consistency to your creative team or those that you lead. Imagine your coworkers or direct reports knowing what to expect when they come in to work. Imagine a fully prepared team all pushing in the same direction because trust has been established through consistency. As creatives we have to move from understanding consistency as a hindrance and seeing it as one of our best allies.

Customer Service in Church?

A week back or so I posted a video from Lee Cockerell’s talk about Job Performance in Church.  He also talked about a couple of his books having to relate to Customer Service and valuing guests, customers, members, etc.  Lee’s background includes VP of the Disney World Parks, so I would say he’s got a couple good things to share about Customer Service.  I just finished his book “The Customer Rules“.  First of all, a definite recommend.  My wife and I have small business (Heart Box Weddings), so I enjoyed it from that perspective, but it was interesting to take a few nuggets from what I learned in that book to apply it to the church world.  Now, I understand that church is not a business, but that shouldn’t keep us from learning everything we can about treating people better, valuing people, and in turn making a greater impact on people’s lives.  So here are a few notes I took from the book.  Again, I totally encourage you to grab a copy of it yourself.

  1. “Great Service is not just about what we do; it’s about what we are. You can have the best policies, procedures, and training in the world, but if the people you entrust to carry them out don’t have what it takes – forget about it.”
  2. “Being comes before doing”
  3. “Time and time again, customer service has been shown to be the best way to distinguish an outstanding organization”
  4. “Customer Service encompasses the entire experience, from the moment a person logs on to your website or walks through your front door until the moment they logy off or walk out.”
  5. “You win customers one at a time and lose them a thousand at a time”
  6. Each of your employees need to measure up to the 5 basics: Cleanliness, Personal Appearance, Clear Communication, Thoughtfulness, and Knowledge
  7. “Greet people with eye contact and a friendly smile”
  8. “If your appearance is professional, they will assume that the service you provide is professional.”  Perception is reality.
  9. “Professionals show up- on time and ready to go”
  10. “Customers can sense a lack of passion from a mile away”
  11. “Experts serve their customers quickly”
  12. “Consistency is vital”
  13. “A cheery hello and a sincere good-bye can leave a customer with a memory of a positive experience regardless of what happened in between.”
  14. “Do unto your employees as you would have them do unto your customers”

I just realized that I have pages and pages of notes from this book.  I should stop here and just suggest you check it out for yourself.  Again, people that come to church are NOT customers.  They are members of your family, members of the body of Christ.  But there are some important lessons to be learned in the area of customer service for every church.  How much more important is it that someone finds Jesus than Disney earn another customer.  In the church world, we need to be experts at customer service.  People matter too much.  The cause of Christ matters too much.

Mission Gallery

Missions Gallery Update

A while back, I wrote a post about redoing our missions gallery.  The missions gallery is a funny story of how responsibility often gets assigned in an organization.  If you bring it up as an issue that needs to be dealt with, you are usually tasked with the responsibility of fixing it. As you can see from the previous post of what the mission gallery used to be, it was something that needed to be done.  It’s a prominent spot in our building, in between the two main entrances into the worship center.  So naturally it needed to be something that looked nice and really displayed what we are all about.  At Northwood Church, we are all about reaching the world around us, we are very globally minded.  At the time of the project, I had just got back from a trip to Vietnam, so we had some great pictures to work with.  We let the pictures speak for themselves, we printed them as large as we could, and the result was when people walk by, they can see a glimpse of what our church is about just by glancing at the area.  We also designed it in such a way that when the pictures need a refresh it’s quite easy to put different pictures in.  I never got around to posting a final picture of what it looked like, so here you go!

Mission Gallery

If I could change one thing, it would be the height of the bottom cedar planks.  I would also prefer to vary the color of the wood from piece to piece, but the straight cedar color matches the rest of the building quite nicely.

Job Performance in Church

A while back I wrote a couple posts talking bout some things I learned from this year’s seeds conference. The content from all the speakers was very insightful. Specifically, Lee Cockerell, knocked it out of the park. You can learn so much from a man who went from a military cook to Executive Vice President of Disney World. While I was re-watching it, another statement jumped out at me. He said “I’ve always wondered should I say that – can churches deal with people who don’t perform?” His answer – you have to. “If you aren’t working on the hard things every week, you are working on the wrong things.”

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TelePrompter Time

We get questions from time to time about our video filming process.  Since we are like most churches in that we we desire to produce quality pieces without having enough man power to really do so on a consistent basis, we created a system that works really well for us.  This system allows us to crank out videos quite quickly and still produce quality videos.  Here’s the last video I just posted with our host Jenni, using this system (I’ll explain what I mean by system in a bit).  Click here to read the post on this video and our thoughts behind it.

Our “system” includes a few pieces, lighting, audio, camera, and teleprompter.  I’ll do a post soon on our lighting, essentially its a three point lighting system that is already in place and ready to go whenever we need to film – more on that later.  Our microphone is always on a boom ready to go, we just hook in our H4N and we are good to go for crystal clear audio.  I’ll also do a post on audio later as well.  The camera tripod and teleprompter mount are always ready to go.  Then we get to the teleprompter.

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For the teleprompter, we use an iPad mini with an app called Teleprompt+.  This app is great, it connects with your google drive, or you can just copy in text from an email or text.  Typically, we email our script, copy it off the email and put it into the app.  In which case the app gives you tons of options of speed, size, color, timing, etc.  Teleprompters take a little while to get used to, but once your host is used to it, its golden.  What used to take us hours in “try again”, “lets do it again”, now only takes a matter of minutes.  In fact the video you see above was recorded in less than 10 minutes.  With a set up time of about 5 minutes, this video took about 15 minutes to record.  That’s incredible compared to what a normal video shoot takes!

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Let me touch real quick on teleprompters and scripts.  There are varying opinions on whether or not they help, whether or not it looks like you are reading, whether or not its genuine, etc.  Pastors are typically the worst because they like to wing it.  I would challenge everyone whether you have a teleprompter or not, to write a script before you shoot.  This forces you to speak with intentionality.  You will never be able to make your videos short and to the point (which they need to be) if you don’t think through what you are saying before hand.  Write out your scripts, make changes, read it again, make more changes, rinse and repeat.  If you don’t already do this, this will take your videos to the next level over night.

Keep a look out for a post on our lighting/audio/camera set ups.