What Are You Trying To Accomplish?

I’m a big fan of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done (also known as GTD). One of the premier questions that David has you ask about every project or activity is “What are you trying to accomplish?” While on the surface this a very simple question, when you can get clarity about this one thing, many things about project planning become easier.

What I have experienced is that most ministries assume the answer to this question for their events. They don’t write out their objectives and the can’t explain it clearly when asked. What ends up happening is you have team members coming up with different solutions based on different assumptions of what the event is trying to accomplish. In addition, you don’t have clear criteria for effective evaluation. What you are left with is “how did you like it?”…and that is hardly a objective measurement tool.

Some simple examples:

I want the traditional Christmas music at our Christmas Eve service because I think most guest would be able to participate, but our Worship Pastor wants a modern contemporary arrangement’s because his team picked the songs that better matches the selected program.

You want the invitations printed full color on specialty glossy paper with a high end design because you want your event to be “classy”, while I want it B&W with a simple design because the party is for the Executive Pastor and I don’t want to rub it in  because the church is behind budget.

The same thing happens in personal relationships…I want to go the Disneyland for vacation (because I want to spend time with the family) and my spouse wants to go to Kansas to visit Aunt Mable (because extended family is important).

Who’s right? We’ll, there is no right…but there are different “outcome” answers based on different “input” assumptions.

When you get clarity on the “What” (are you trying to accomplish) question, often the “How” (are we going to implement this) questions are easier to come by. At least you are staring on the same page.

I’ve also found that by adding the “How Much” questions** can help focus the “What are we trying to accomplish” conversation.

  1. How much TIME are you willing to invest?
  2. How much MONEY are you willing to spend?

It doesn’t matter what you are tying to do if you don’t have the time or the money to make it happen.

**Some times the Time and Money filter is helpful to have BEFORE you start and sometimes you want to brainstorm and get all the ideas first, then ask the questions AFTER the conversation to help narrow down choices.

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