A Great Leadership Choice

As you know, I consult with churches across the nation. I love doing this and since I’m not currently on staff full-time at a local church, I get to do this more frequently (and it provides for my family). My friend, Alan Danielson, recently blogged about hiring a consultant. He’s a great consultant, too and the small groups guru for the Church. I suggest you get to know him. He’s in my blogroll to the right. Check out what he said in a recent blog post:

In my line of work I’ve learned there are three primary reasons people don’t hire consultants:

  1. They think they can’t afford a consultant.
  2. They think they don’t need advice from someone who isn’t living in their shoes.
  3. They don’t think they have time to mess with consulting and coaching.

Here’s why these three assumptions are wrong:

  1. Consultants are often willing to negotiate rates.  Consultants would rather work for a discounted rate than not work.  If you don’t like the rates they offer, make a counter offer.  Maybe they’d be willing to use some of their airline miles or stay in your extra bedroom.  Maybe they’ll knock off a percentage in exchange for some word-of-mouth advertising.
  2. Consultants bring a fresh perspective. Sometimes the best advice comes from people who aren’t walking in your shoes.  It’s easy to get so caught up in your own circumstances that you can’t see your blind spots.  Consultants can see those blind spots quickly and help you avoid them.
  3. Consultants help you earn your pay. The leader is an organization’s greatest asset.   You invest in your team because they are a great asset.  You invest in marketing, product development and customer relations because all of these are assets.  Sadly, most leaders spend little or no money investing in themselves.  What a tragedy!!  Without great leadership your organization will go nowhere.  You can’t afford NOT to hire a consultant.  Hiring a consultant is like bringing a conference to you…a custom-made conference just for your context.  Consultants make you better and what you do and therefore make you worth your salary.

Think about the biggest problem you are facing right now.  A consultant can help with that!  Think about the toughest leadership decision you’re facing right now.  A consultant can help with that!

Consultants can help you figure out:

  • Why your organization isn’t growing
  • Why you have a staff-revolving-door
  • Why your customers are leaving
  • Why people don’t seem to listen to you
  • Why people don’t see how truly great your product is
  • Why people are leaving your church for the one down the street
  • Why you loved your job last year and hate it today
  • Why ____________________ (fill in the blank)

Consultants are strategic leadership doctors!  So hire a consultant or coach and do it this week!  If you wait excuses will creep up and keep you from making a great leadership choice.  Whether it’s myself or someone else, figure out how and when to hire a consultant…you’ll be making a tragic leadership mistake if you don’t.

*** It’s Greg: This past Sunday I did a secret shopper for NorthStar – a great church in Atlanta. I’d love to secret shop your church. Get me in touch with your pastor.

5 Benefits of Working With an Outside Consultant

As a consultant that works with churches and ministry organizations, I appreciated this recent article by Alan Chandler and thought it was worth reposting here. Here’s what Alan wrote:

There is a trend in church revitalization efforts that needs to be addressed.  The trend is the felt need to handle everything internally.

The opening decade of the 21st Century has revealed historically unique challenges for the church.  More and more, church and denominational leaders are recognizing the existence of  these challenges.  For the most part their response has been to keep everything in-house.  In other words: Their revitalization efforts are internally generated and implemented.

How is it working?  An honest answer is, “Not so well.”  There is growing frustration among leaders as revitalization efforts meet with lack of enthusiasm and effectiveness.  Yet church leaders (denominational and local church) are still hesitant to look outside for help.

In effort to address these felt frustrations, I offer a brief list of five benefits to working with an outside consultant.

They come from the outside: I know it looks like I am overstating the obvious.  The realty, however, is the majority of what an outside consultant brings to the table is that they come from the outside.  The outside element is huge and carries with it many peripheral benefits.

Objectivity: Only someone from the outside can be completely objective.  Simply put: It takes an outsider to see the challenges that people involved in the day-to-day no longer see.

Insulation of church leadership: Because consultations deal with potentially sensitive issues, an outside consultant provides a layer of insulation for the leaders of the church.  Most of the opposition to difficult recommendations can be buffered through the outside consultant before it ever gets to church and denominational leaders.

Freedom to tackle difficult recommendations: Outside consultant’s are not emotionally connected to their client church and can therefore make difficult recommendations.

They are more openly received: This one is perhaps the most significant, yet most under appreciated of the benefits.  It’s the source of the felt frustration of denominational leadership.  It’s also the root cause for the lack of buy-in of the local church.

No matter how you slice it, if it comes from the top the local church will view it as “just another program.”  Regardless of the vision, mission, etc.; by the time it hits the local church it’s received as burden being forced upon them by the “higher-ups” in the denomination.

One of the mysteries associated with recommendations coming from an outside consultant is they are viewed less as programatic, and received more as being rallied to a cause.

These are his five observations.  What do you think about bringing in an outside consultant?