War Room – 12 Days of Christmas (Posts)

Dr._Strangelove_-_The_War_Room

One of my favorite movies is Dr. Strangelove. I have loved it since I was a kid (I am an old soul). One of my favorite lines is when the president yells at two men fighting saying, “gentlemen, you can’t fight in here, this is the war room.” I probably say that line at least twice during every creative meeting. I read somewhere when President Reagan was inaugurated for the first time, he asked his advisors if he could see the “War Room” and they told him that there wasn’t a real one, like in the movie. I have always longed for a room filled with monitors and dry erase boards where creativity could just flow, a blue-sky room per say. However I think “War Room” is much manlier. While preparing for Christmas, I it is important to find a space where you can “take over” for a month or so: put up a giant calendar, use a whiteboard if there is one, or my go to choice –  Sticky Post-it Flip Chart pages.

What goes in the War Room:

3D Drawings: I highly recommend someone on your team taking the time to learn a 3D modeling software like Sketchup. It’s free and can really help you visualize what you’re trying to create on stage.

2013_0317_TimHawkins_2 2013_0317_TimHawkins_1  2013_0317_TimHawkins_3

These mock-ups are from when we had Tim Hawkins perform at Northview. One of the guys on our team is great at drafting these for us, and since he’s way smarter about it than I, please feel free to reach out to him with questions @tmcarpen.

We print these stage designs out and attach them to the war room wall for review.

Calendar: I talked about this in my post on Limiting Activities, but want to revisit it here. I am all for saving trees and going digital. But it is hard to argue with a giant wall calendar. No one can blame a phone upgrade or spilling coffee on his or her laptop for not logging into the shared digital calendar. I love the wall calendar because it stares you down every time you walk by it. I suggest color-coding or using symbols to differentiate tasks or people. But put everything that is relevant to the Christmas season on it.

Ongoing Service Flow: Keep an updated service order on the wall. Highlight missing areas or where there are still unanswered questions. Like the calendar, it will stare at you until you answer it.

Finally, if you want to get really focused, I like to print out daily tasks that must be accomplished before leaving, and tape it to the door. With Christmas, there is a lot of task juggling and it’s easy for something to get dropped. Trying to find ways to avoid that is crucial. Especially when you’re as ADD as me.

 

 

Think on Your Feet – 12 Days of Christmas (Posts)

This post is important to me. As I constantly strive for better ways to manage productivity, this one is key. Now as you start reading, you may think this doesn’t apply to you. While technically this is geared for churches with production staff, it can still work for volunteer leaders.

The Standing Meeting – a scheduled, recurring, “standing” meeting. You can schedule them daily, weekly, or for whatever time frame works for your team. Here’s the part I love: no one sits down. Everyone remains standing. Seems simple right? This idea ensures the meeting will be short and to the point, since no one likes to stand unnecessarily. This style isn’t a new concept, and it doesn’t work for all meetings, but it does help me keep things moving.

I do not have a disdain for meetings, what I do hate is wasting time in meetings. When a group of creatives gets together it’s so easy to rabbit trail and ADD the meeting right off a cliff. Ten minutes later, you don’t even remember where you were going and may call off the meeting for lack of direction.

With so much happening this time of the year it’s important to keep everyone on the same page, but also productive. Standing meetings are the perfect way to accomplish this.

standup

Here are a few tips for productive standing meetings:

Get progress reports: Know what each person or team is working on. Might I add that this isn’t the time for micromanaging – it’s simply to share information and keep everyone up-to-date. The point is so everyone knows what Person A is working on and how that might affect the rest of the team.

Give clear directions: Do not end the meeting with confusion. This just leads to more meetings… Why would you want that? Instead, make sure each person has an understanding of what they’re supposed to be doing and the direction their tasks are heading.

Delegate and Set Deadlines: You can’t do everything yourself: I know, I’ve tried. Empower your team members to run with key elements of the season. Not only will the job get done more efficiently, but delegation shows that you trust in your team. Having deadlines for said delegated elements just gives everyone a goal to reach. Each person needs something to strive for, and deadlines provide a measure of success.

Bottom line: keep your meetings to the point and productive.

What do you do to keep meetings moving?