Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan, writing in their book "Simply Strategic Stuff." have some great advice for leaders. Read their advice below, then apply it at your next opportunity.
We’ve all seen it happen. We’re in a meeting, and the presentation has been made. An awkward silence ensues as we wait to see who will ask the first question. We’re not sure yet which way the decision will go. Eventually, all heads turn toward her. She is the one from whom all others take their cue. It may stem from her tenure, wisdom, personality, or opinionated style – but there is no doubt she is the leader. She doesn’t even have a leadership title, and she’s not sitting at the head of the table, but she is definitely the leader. If she’s in favor of the proposal, it will pass. If she isn’t, it will fail. End of story.
These people are called influencers. There is always at least one person who must be convinced before you can progress. It might be one teacher in your children’s ministry planning group. It may be one member on your deacon or elder board. It may be one musician in your band.
It’s pretty easy to identify an influencer. As you meet with the members of your group, watch their eyes and their interactions. You’ll se who in the group is respected, who is feared, and who will lead. You’ll find your influencer.
Once you’ve identified the influencer, follow this rule from John Maxwell: “Don’t skip the meeting before the meeting.”
This one principle will help you so much. It’s timeless. You’ll never have enough tenure in a church or strong enough relationships with a congregation for this not to be true. Anytime you want to start something new, make a change, add a program, or expand the budget – make sure you don’t skip the meeting before the meeting. Be sure to meet with every key influencer ahead of time. Ask influencers what they think, tell them you need their insight, and ask them what questions they have and what additional information they need. By doing this, you will accomplish several things:
• You’ll discover the holes in your presentation
• You’ll communicate to them that they are hugely valuable
• You’ll get new ideas about implementing the change
• You’ll prepare the influencers for your presentation
Follow this advice for quick and painless meetings. Don’t surprise your influencers; be proactive by holding the meeting before the meeting.
If you liked this little nugget, their book is full of many more just as vaulable. Pick up a copy today!