Listen, Evaluate, and Decide

Lately I’ve caught myself in conversations telling others to listen, evaluate, and decide a lot. It may be coming across as advice to others because I have been trying to engage in feedback lately with those three words in mind.

Here is what I mean in short form:

Listen

Stop talking and just listen. If you are married you know what I mean here. It’s very hard to do this part, but it is the best thing you can do. So when someone approaches you with feedback you did not solicit go ahead and listen. Don’t justify your decisions. If you solicited the feedback once again don’t start defending your choices. Just listen.

Evaluate

You have now taken the time to actually listen to someone’s opinion. Other’s opinions are very important to improving your art/decisions/product. The thing to remember though is every opinion is just that… an opinion. So once you have taken the time to listen you must take the time to evaluate. You will base the evaluation on many factors that only you can decide on. The key here is to take the time and evaluate what you have heard from others.

Decide

Now that you have listened and evaluated you must decide. And this must be based online casino around vision and values. If you begin making decisions based on wavering vision and values you will continue to make reactionary changes based solely on peoples opinions and not vision. This is extremely hard for church production environments. Lights, video and audio volume can be and should be decided based on vision/values and not just complaints/compliments. It’s difficult in the moments you must make a decision, but no matter what decision you make some peoples opinions will be opposite. And once again with vision you can make your way through those circumstances.

So this week as you create new art, scripts, music, policies, curriculum be sure to listen to others, evaluate what you have heard, and then decide based on your vision and values.

A Professional Shows Up Every Day

I’ve heard John Maxwell say many, many times that leaders are readers, and from the first time I heard that statement, I have been reading as often as I can. A few months back, I picked up “Manage Your Day -to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, & Sharpen Your Creative Mind” and read the following paragraph written by Steven Pressfield:

A professional is someone who can keep working at a high level effort and ethics, no matter what is going on – for good or ill – around him or inside him.

A professional shows up every day.

A professional plays hurt.

A professional takes neither success nor failure personally.

When I read this it came to mind that working for a highly visible organization or well known production company does not actually make you a professional. You see, I often thought that by working in “church” production world, I was at amateur status at all times. I believed that to become a professional, I would have to leave “church” world and head into the “industry.”

So here is what I have learned and what I believe currently it takes to leave the amateur status behind.

High Level Effort… Regardless

Professionals play hurt. Professionals play year around. Professionals stick to their beliefs/standards through it all. Over the years I have learned that if I want to take it to the next level I must put more hours than required. The average work week is 40 hours and most organizations require average work. So a few years back I found myself working more than 40 hours per week because I did not want to do average work. Instead I wanted to be leading the charge and that required more. (I will be posting next on why this part does not encourage a “workaholic” for life)

Show Up Every Day

I learned while playing basketball in high school that “phoning it in” during practice hurt me in the actual game (if the coach even decided to start me). Every day I do my best to show online casino up ready to give it 100%, whether it be in a brainstorm session, meeting, or a rehearsal. This may mean running through the entire lighting cue list one more time to see how I can simplify it – even if it is 11:00pm. It may mean playing back my online mix again and again even though I hate it.  And it may mean spending an extra 10 minutes cleaning up my office/desk before heading out the door for the day.

Success OR Failure  is not Personal

[quote]“A professional takes neither success nor failure personally”[/quote]  This is possibly the hardest statement for me to accept, but I believe it will take you to the next level. In creating service flow, programming lights, directing video or mixing online, I pour my heart into it. That in itself is very personal, which makes the statement “A professional takes neither success nor failure personally” very difficult for me to live out. So here is how I have dealt with it. I put my heart and soul into the planning & execution of the “product/service” then leave it there. Once the event is over or the product has “shipped” I do my best to leave the personal stuff off the table, because I want to make sure there is an evaluation after every event or product launch. If you are able to reach this level, you can improve on your art form so much faster because you will begin to take criticism and advice more seriously. This doesn’t mean you listen to what everyone says and change things based on every different opinion, but you won’t dismiss it because they may have hurt your feelings. With our latest installation of a separate online mixing console I have learned to trust the above statement the most.

There is so much more that can be said and discussed about what I have written here, but this is personally where I am right now. I have begun to share this with my media and production staff members and it”s resulted in a lot of good conversation. I encourage you to evaluate and discuss this topic with others in your circles. I promise it will bring up lots of great discussions.


[note]Photo taken from The Great Discontent article on Scott Belsky[/note]

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Why I Toggl My Time

I started using Toggl to track time at work a year ago, but it only would last for a week or so. That was until last month when I gave it another try, but this time around I simplified the process. I then added our entire production & media department (10 staff members) to Toggl. But before I get into how I/we use it, I want to share quickly why tracking your time may be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your staff.

There are three major factors why I started tracking my time. They are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Data
  3. Accountability

1. Awareness

Before I started tracking I only knew what time I came into work and what time the clock read when I left the office. This gives me no awareness to look back on a day and see on what and how I spent my time. I had assumptions on how much time I spent in my email inbox or in the hallway chatting. I always said updating the website with the latest sermon did not take long, but how was I to really know. I knew I took time during the day to check social networks, but it couldn’t be more than 10 minutes right?

toggl_time

Since I began tracking at the end of February I was able to best online casino run a report for the entire month of March. I found some interesting things that I will share after April ends and I can compare the two months. For now I spend a minute or two at the end of the day looking at where my efforts went. This awareness gives me the opportunity to keep my self in check.

2. Data

This is something that we don’t have as a team just yet, but by the end of May we will. All organizations/churches track some type of data. It may be their profit margin, online sales or Sunday attendance. They track the numbers because they are helpful when making upcoming decisions. The same goes for a media or production department in a church. There are always videos to produce, logos to be designed, rehearsals to be prepped or a “small” event to be organized. All of these things take time and usually we are very good at underestimating the amount of time and resources a project/event takes. Our hope is that soon we will have data from all these different projects to use as a gauge to assist us in setting true timelines instead of shooting from the hip. The data will also give us great raw data on how to approach the need for future hires.

3. Accountability

Having the entire team on Toggl together has already improved our workflow and work ethic for most. After just 2 or 3 weeks the entire team makes jokes about whether something is “Toggl worthy”. And I believe that is a great thing! I know for a fact the amount of time spent on sideways energy has decreased. We have also had less lengthy “creative’ discussions, also known as watching a new movie trailer and talking about it at lengths. This in my opinion has it’s place in our type of creative environment, but it can be abused.

The team has done a great job in helping each other with the new time tracking and I can’t wait to share in Part 3 the results we are seeing and the data we have compiled. Next up will be Part 2 of “Why I Toggl My Time” where I will show how I technically use Toggl and how we have integrated it with our Basecamp Next account.