Dear Christian Radio,

PAR became complacent.  We did the same things, the same way, year after year.  Nothing changed.  Scratch that.  That’s not true.  Things did change.  Morale went down.  Nobody wanted to work here.  We were not an appealing place to work.  Those who did work here wanted to leave.  Income was on the decline.  Instead of everyone working together, there was tremendous infighting. 

Then it happened…we became so disgusted with ourselves that we decided to dream.  We were left with no other options.  It was either dream or die. 

The gathering happened one January.  We had agreed upon a series of questions that had to be answered.  

*    It’s three years from today.  What does PAR look like? 

*    What have we accomplished? 

*    What are the first three steps we must take to see these dreams become a reality?

There it is.  We lifted our eyes from the here and now and looked toward the future.  We learned that if all we do is look at the here and now we’ll stay right where we are and when you stay where you are, and never grow, you begin to decay.

For some of you reading this, you’re afraid to even have the meeting because it could mean taking you out of the comfortable “known” and pushing you into the scary “unknown”.

Others are nervous that your team won’t receive your leadership.  You’re thinking, “What if I call this meeting and the team laughs at me?”  Have the meeting anyway.  Have it over and over.  Keep pounding the desk until they see you’re serious.  If you’re not committed to the future, they won’t be.  

Let’s make this really easy.  Gather your team and do a pre-meeting.  Tell them what you’re thinking and how you want to dream about the future.  Prep them for the big meeting.  Ask them to cover it in prayer.   Then when you gather together, encourage honesty and candor.  

Did the process work for PAR?  Yes.  And it still is. 

We wanted a healthy culture.  We went from competing against each other to working together.  We stopped avoiding each other and now can’t wait to gather together so we can dream even more.  Listenership is up.  Income is up.  It isn’t because we dreamed.  It’s because we put feet to the dreams. 

This is going to sound harsh but don’t have the meetings and dream if you’re not willing to do the work.  There’s a famous quote that reads, “Ideas are cheap.  Execution is everything.”  You can’t just lead the team to dream.  You have to lead them to work. 

Not everything PAR dreamed of was a success.  There are projects where we failed gloriously. 

One of our dreams was to connect more with listeners and donors at events. A big hairy idea was to present everyone who approached us at an event or concert a name tag. The person would then write their name on it and the staff could then refer to the listener by their name thus increasing the connection point.  (We were hoping to lift this Starbucks idea and how they put names on cups.)  Glorious failure.  Flames everywhere.  Most people who attend a concert or event aren’t there to visit our booth and they certainly don’t have the time to give us their names.  And in a crowd of 5,000 people do they want to be 1 of 500 with a nametag.  But even though we failed, we innovated.  We moved forward. 

We no longer ask listeners who visit our booth to wear nametags.  But we do put the staff in front of the table so it’s easier to interact with the crowd.  Volunteers are behind the table to help those who want to register for a prize.  Our failure pushed us to innovate and change gears. 

You must not be afraid to fail.  Simply view failure as a stepping stone toward success.

Dear Christian Radio,

  • Have the meeting. Have the pre-meeting!   Warm up the room so they’re accepting and excited to discuss the ideas and plan the future.
  • Be honest. Talk about what your organization will look like three years now. What accomplishments will have been achieved?
  • Do the work. Implement the ideas.  
  • Expect failure. But push through the hurdles.    Don’t stop.  Keep moving forward.
  • Cheer your team on toward the goal. Most of us aren’t self-motivators.  Your team needs to hear that you believe in them.  Be their biggest cheerleader!

 

Brian Sanders
Executive Vice-President
Positive Alternative Radio

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