A Solid “Why” Leads to a Better “What”
We’ve long used the saying “The Why is More Important Than the What.” It’s one of our five Guest Services plumb lines, and the gist of it is this: if we know why our role exists, we’ll figure out what to do about 95% of the time.
It’s not that job descriptions or task lists aren’t important. It’s not that we don’t want to properly train our team in best practices. But if we know our why (and in our case, why our team exists is so that we can remove all barriers for someone to clearly hear the gospel), the what is that much clearer.
This was illustrated beautifully at one of our campuses not long ago. A family started attending the church, and the patriarch suffers severe medical issues which requires equipment to be plugged into an outlet for the duration of the service.
One of our Guest Services volunteers took the time to get to know the family, their story, and their needs the first Sunday they showed up, and then proceeded to fully own the process. Every week the family is ushered to a specific area where their seats are waiting. The seating team seamlessly rearranges a few chairs, gets all of the equipment plugged in, makes sure the family is comfortable, and then gets out of their way.
Here’s the important thing: we don’t have a policy manual for this. No one – as far as I’m aware – asked permission from staff to do anything, or sought a 22 point checklist to tell them what to do. There was no committee meeting called or standard operating procedures consulted. (And if I’m really honest, had this team consulted me, I would’ve probably overcomplicated things. Ouch.)
This team shone in this moment because these team members know the why inside-out and upside-down. They fully understand that their role is to remove barriers and eliminate distractions. And because they know that, the what was crystal-clear. Because they know that, their resulting what was far better – and far more personal – than anything we could’ve drafted from a staff level.
If you know the why…if your why is rock solid, fully internalized, and ferociously protected…then you can get really creative with the what. Like a good jazz musician, you can riff and improvise the what to your heart’s content. You don’t have to ask permission for the what.
A solid why will always lead to a better what.
photo credit: Rob Laughter