Craig Groeschel - Leading Out of Crisis, Part 2
As of the time of the recording of this episode, COVID cases are declining in many parts of the world and I know it's not consistent everywhere. There's still a lot of chaos but as the moment that we're recording this episode, we see things starting to settle. And as businesses are opening back up, as travel is growing around the world, as football stadiums have been filling, many leaders assume that we're kind of going back to business as usual. And I wanna tell you that there's nothing usual about our economy. There's nothing usual about team morale. There's nothing usual about the global mood with all the chaos we have going on around the world.
And there's nothing usual about our future. What you're doing as a leader is this. You are leading out of chaos. You're leading out of a time of division. You're leading out of a season where many people are afraid and many people have experienced extreme loss. And you're leading into the most rapid changing uncertain and unsettled world that most of us have seen in our lifetime. And this is really important that you realize that the world is changing all around us. Therefore your leadership has to change in how you approach leading in this season. And to the extent that you realize the fact that things are different, that will determine your capacity for effectiveness moving forward.
And so we've talked a lot about leading in a crisis but what I wanna do is talk about leading out of a crisis. In fact, I did some research online to find out who else is written about this. And oddly enough, there is not much out there on leading out of a crisis. And the reason is I think because most of the time we're leading out of a short term crisis but for almost everybody alive today, this is the first time that any of us are leading out of a two year world altering global crisis and leading out of the season, like we've been in, takes a very intentional strategy in our leadership. And so I'm learning. And I wanna share with you what I'm learning and hopefully this is helpful to you. I'm calling it, 6 Keys To Leading Out of Crisis. And I wanna give you those six. The first one is this. I wanna encourage you in your leadership, umber one, to question everything and be willing to change anything.
Number one, question everything and be willing to change anything. And I wanna say it again. If your leadership strategy is similar today to the way it was before the pandemic started, you probably have a very bad strategy because the world is very, very different. If you're leading now, like you led before crisis, you're probably not gonna lead very well. What we're gonna do is we're gonna question everything and I wanna encourage you, let the numbers speak to you, know your numbers, study your numbers, look at your numbers, let the numbers speak. The numbers almost always tell the truth. For example, in our world, we start churches. We build leaders. We try to impact lives and change them spiritually by creating great churches that allow the work of God to work in people's lives. And so we had a strategy of starting new churches and our, we were on pace to start seven in this year.
Here's what we're doing. We're looking at the numbers. And here's what I know. I know that a new church building cost about 50% more than it cost before. I know it takes about 50% longer to build that building. I know that as I look around the world that most people that are starting churches are actually starting smaller today than they were in the past because people in many places are still not as comfortable gathering together. So what I know is costs are going up, time to build's going up and in many places, the return on investment is going down. And that makes me pause and question everything. What about this strategy do we still like, what needs to change? Let the numbers speak to you in your leadership because we're in a very different world. Question everything and ask yourself what do we need to change? Do we need to change our structure? Do we change our strategy? Do we change our systems? We're gonna ask our team. We're gonna ask, how has your core business changed? Not has your core business changed, but how has it changed? Because in almost every case, in almost every example, it is changing. And I wanna encourage you, question everything, be willing to change anything.
The second thing we're gonna do to lead out of crisis is as a leader, I wanna encourage you to listen more, and talk less, listen more and talk less. And this is gonna be very difficult for many leaders 'cause you like to talk a lot. And the reality is as leaders we tend to think that everyone always wants to hear from us and it is important that they hear from us. But in this season it's equally important. And maybe even more important that you hear from your team especially with what's all going on in the world right now because your culture, your organizational climate, your team morale, at your competition, the broader market, all these things and so many more, they're probably considerably different today than you think that they are.
And here's what I'm guessing. This may not be true everywhere but I'm guessing for most of you in your organizations with your volunteers, in your team, that you've got pockets of your team that are healthy, that are performing well but you've got pockets that they may be bleeding out. You've got teams that are in disarray. You may have some departments that are making a really really big difference. They're profitable or they're making ministry progress. You've got others that are losing money or they're not making any kind of progress. And what I need to tell you is in your leadership, there is no one size fits all approach in this season that will work. And lemme say that again. You can't look at your whole organization and say here's the one strategy because you've got some things that are working. Some things that are not, some team members that are healthy, others that are in trouble. There is no one size fits all approach that will work in most organizations today.
I'll give you an example in our context. We have about 30% or so of our staff, they work at a central location that serves our 40 plus church locations. So we've got about 30% of our staff. They're about 70% of them are spread at 40 locations over 12 or 13 states. Those that are at central. Here's what I know about them. They haven't faced the hard battles that take place at the campuses, when people have come in with all sorts of different opinions, they haven't faced those battles but they also haven't felt the wins of seeing the live change up close. And so they have one mindset, at our life church locations, they've been in the middle of the action and they've seen the lives changed but they've also been enduring a different type of battle and many of them are exhausted. So what do we have? We have very different situations with very different people. There is no one size fits all approach to leadership. And that's why as a leader, I need to listen more. I need to talk less. I need to be a student of what's going in all of our different departments.
And I'm gonna encourage you to ask three questions. You're gonna be wise to ask, first of all, how are you? Get into your team members' worlds and listen, listen, listen, how are they doing? Not just like, how are they doing at work? But you wanna know what's going on in their family, in their personal lives. You really, really want to care. Then you wanna ask, how can I help? Not just how are you. But how can I help? Because at this point, some of your top leaders really need help and they really need support. Then what you wanna do is you wanna ask, what should we change about our strategy? Not should we change our strategy but what should we change? We're assuming right now that if we're not changing, we're falling behind. That should be your assumption. If you're not changing, you're not growing. The world is so different. If your strategy is the same, you're not being very smart. How are you? How can I help? What should we change about our strategy?
We're gonna come back to that third question in a little bit. This is what I've been doing the last few weeks. I've had meeting after meeting, after meeting with dozens of our top leaders and I've asked questions and I've listened. And here's what I've discovered, it's just crazy out there. That's what I've discovered. I've discovered that some of our team members are indescribably discouraged. I've found that pockets of them have a little bit more mistrust than they normally would. I found that some are confused on the strategy. Some are overwhelmed, some are disoriented, some are depressed. I've talked to other groups that haven't been more excited, that there's passion at every level, that they see where we're going. They're excited about where we're going. What I know is that things are very, very, very different.
And so one strategy isn't gonna work everywhere. And what I promise you is when you get down into your team you're probably gonna learn a lot more variety of things going on than you probably earlier anticipated. Why is this the case? Because what happens in your team members, when they're away from the office it really impacts what they do at the office. What's going on outside in their lives, it's been so chaotic, so crazy. You wanna understand what's going on in their world so you can minister to them, encourage them, help equip them. Many of them right now, they have family tension. Inflation may be outpacing their income. A lot of them wanna buy a home, but they can't find a home. They feel more unsettled in their personal life. Therefore they feel more unsettled in their work. You want to talk less. You want to listen more. You wanna question everything. You wanna be willing to change anything.
And number three, so important. You wanna help your hurting team members heal. You wanna help your hurting team members heal because right now you've got some world class players that if you don't pay attention to discover their actually hurting and they need your help. Remember, most of your team, they experienced a very similar pain and pressure that you did. They've experienced loss. And this is so important to them that you know what they've experienced. They need to know that you understand the price that they've paid. Because honestly you're not the only one who worked your brains out. You aren't the only one who felt pressure. You. Aren't the only one who endured brutal criticism.
Now, to be fair, if you're the top leader they may not have endured the same level of intensity or scrutiny that you did. But to them, it was the worst they've undergone. And that's been a very difficult season for many of your leaders. So if they don't know that you know what they've been through, they won't know that you care. And if they don't feel like you care. They're not gonna stay working for you. You're not gonna keep them. The bottom line is this. Your team likely needs some attention. Just like we talked about in the last episode, many of them, they're not tired, but they're depleted. They need to be refilled. Some of them they're hurting and they need healing.
And so what you wanna do is you wanna get into their lives with genuine compassion and care and say what do we need to do to help? For some of them it's gonna be like forcing them to have some time off. Others of them, you may help them get into a good counselor. You may adjust their work schedule. We have some team members we're having to hire extra support because the demands have just increased too much around them. You may change or redefine some responsibility. It is indescribably important that you get into the lives of your great team members and help them heal. What are you gonna do? You're gonna lead with a little different mindset because we're in a very different world. You're gonna question everything and be willing to change anything. You're gonna listen a lot more and you're gonna talk a lot less. You're gonna help your team heal.
Number four, you're gonna lead like your onboarding your entire team. You're gonna lead like your onboarding your entire team. Because in many ways you are, like, honestly. As people may be coming back to the office or coming back to the church, they're coming back in with really different perspectives than before. And that's why you wanna drive the basics over and over and over and over again. Here's what we value. This is why we do what we do. This is our vision. This is where we're going. This is our strategy. This is how we're gonna accomplish the, what. This is what we value, where we're going how we're gonna get there and you're gonna drive it over and over and over again. You're not gonna assume that anyone remembers, you're not gonna assume that anybody knows. You're not gonna assume that anybody cares. What you're doing is you're realigning hearts and minds toward a unified vision.
And think about it. If you're onboarding new team members, what do you do? Well, you drive the values. You share the strategy. You share the vision. And hopefully if you're smart, you make it fun. And that's what we have to do right now. We have to make going to work being at work being on a team, being involved in a mission, a exciting place to be because it is really really fun when we win together. So we're onboarding our team into a mission, into a vision, into a call to action. We're not just here to be profitable. We're here to make a difference in people's lives. And we want to bring people back into something that is more than just a job. We want them to feel like they're a part of a family, they're on vision. They're on task. They're on mission. They're making a difference in this world.
And so I wanna encourage you to lead like you're onboarding your whole team back into something. You're not going to assume that they're in just because they were in before, you're helping them buy into the why behind what you do. We're in a different season right now. It's in incredibly different. Therefore, you're gonna question everything and you're gonna be willing to change anything. You're gonna listen a lot more. You're gonna talk a lot less. You're gonna help your team heal. You're gonna lead like you're onboarding your whole team.
Number five, this is so important. You're gonna give your team quick wins. You're gonna give your team quick wins. The reason you need to give them quick wins is because so many people feel like they're losing right now. And morale is never, ever good. When there's more losses on the scoreboard than there are wins. I'll give you an example. In our church right now things are going relatively well. They're going incredibly well, compared to last year, for example, revenue is growing, year over year attendance is up significantly. The online reach is booming. We got lots of new people coming but if you compare our current church attendance today to where it was pre pandemic, those numbers are still down. So overall things are moving up and to the right, things are growing and we're seeing new people. But compared to two years ago, the total attendance in physical locations is actually down.
So many of our leaders feel like we're still losing. So what we have to do is we have to help them feel the wins. In fact, I talked to some of our top leaders. And even though from my perspective where I sit, things are going very, very well based on where we are. Some of our top leaders said, "Well we're not sure we're making a difference". Essentially what they were saying is we're not sure if we're winning and the reason they feel that way is because I have not helped them feel the wins. What we have to do is we have to be very very clear on some goals. When we set some goals and we achieve the goals, we know that we are winning and anytime you're in a tough season or anytime you're coming out of a tough season I like to tell our team members think S bags not bhags, think S bags not bhags. What are bhags? Bhags, this is not an original thought to me.
I think it was Collins. Jim Collins, a Bhag is a big, hairy, audacious goal. You know, in the next five years, we're gonna, you know, 10 X our business or whatever, a big hair audacious goal. This is not the time for big, hairy, audacious goals, because we don't have enough time to accomplish the big things. I want you to think Sbags. I did make this up and you'll probably see why. Sbag stands for stretching, but achievable goals. What we wanna do right now, because we're in a difficult season is we wanna give some very short term, very short term stretching, but achievable goals. Meaning in the next three weeks or the next four weeks, the next five weeks, we're gonna set a goal and we're gonna accomplish the goal.
Why do we do this? A stretching, but achievable goal, a quick win because we want our team to see and feel a win. This is so important because what does it do? It builds a sense of confidence and a sense of progress. And if we aren't making progress then we need to tell the truth. We need to set an Sbag and we need to achieve the goal. Here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna question everything. We're gonna listen. We're gonna help our team heal. We're gonna drive the values the vision, we're gonna get some quick wins.
And number six, we're gonna communicate twice as much as feels natural to you, then double it. Let me say it again. Communicate twice as much as you feel natural and then double it. This is super important. And in times of crisis, okay, the world's in a crisis. This is intuitive to you. You know, we communicate, communicate, communicate but I'm gonna tell you right now, leading out of a crisis in many ways is more difficult than leading in a crisis. in post-crisis, your team is still hurting. They're disoriented. So we're gonna communicate, communicate, communicate. When you don't speak. When you don't communicate, your team, they start making assumptions. And because the world is so disoriented and this includes your team, they often make bad assumptions. And here's a problem. Whenever they make bad assumptions, they feel uncertain. They feel unsure. They feel afraid. And this compounds negatively and their assumptions move downhill in a really bad way.
So what we're gonna do is we're gonna communicate frequently, intimately, and proactively. We're gonna communicate frequently, intimately, and proactively, frequently, we're gonna communicate more than feels natural, and then we're gonna double it. When you make a mistake, communicate. Make a mistake over communicating, not under communicating, your team needs to hear from you. Here's where we're going. Here's where we're winning. Here's where we're struggling. Tell the truth. The truth told well is better than people wondering and not even knowing. Communicate frequently, then communicate intimately, get open, be honest, be transparent. I took some time in front of our top leaders and I apologized recently and I told them, I am sorry. I haven't been leading well. And the reason I wasn't leading well is because I was leading with a pre-crisis mindset. I wasn't leading out of a crisis. And that kind of intimacy, that kind of honesty, that kind of transparency. It's a unifying bonding and a trust building moment, communicate intimately and then communicate proactively. Get ahead of what's coming. Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them what you wanna tell them and then tell them what you told them.
And lemme say this again. This is good Communication. You tell them, this is what I'm going to tell you. And then you tell them what you want to tell them. And then you tell them what you told them. This is what I do in the podcast often, I tell you, here's what I'm gonna tell you. And I tell you, and I say it again. What we're doing is we're driving communication deep. And when you're communicating with your team, language matters so much. You wanna define some language that's very specific to creating the right culture and motivation. For example, in our church world, most of my peers are saying, we're gonna build back the church. We're gonna build back. We're rebuilding the church. I have told our team we're not rebuilding anything. Rebuilding means you're going back to what was and we can't go back to what was. If we're rebuilding, that means we're always losing until we get back there. And I don't wanna lead a losing organization. So we're not rebuilding. We are building, building builds my faith, building is something we can do. We're not trying to go back to where we were.
Create language that creates the emotion that drives your team in the right way. And your leadership always matters. And what I wanna tell you is it matters more right now than you could ever imagine. And that's why you don't manage your way out of a crisis. You lead your way out of a crisis and you are uniquely positioned to do just that. You're not just leading in a crisis. That's intuitive, you tend to know what to do but leading out of it, it may be more difficult. And that's why you wanna be on your game in the zone. Being intentional with a very different and unique strategy. No one size fits all, but getting in and being a student, studying the organization, pivoting and coming out with clear, compelling vision and strategy to make a difference in this world.
Now, my goal is to bring you good content that helps you grow in your leadership. The favor you can do to me is rate it, review it, share it and invite others to be a part. Share on social media. We have a great lineup of interviews coming that I believe could be very helpful to you. Click the button to download the Leader Guide. You can get that at life.church/leadershippodcast. And I wanna just encourage you and tell you that you have what it takes. You are where you are because you are the one that is supposed to lead. Step into it with confidence. You don't have to know it all. Just show up with confidence, knowing, that you have what it takes to do what you're created to do and keep developing and growing in your leadership. Because we know that everyone wins when the leader gets better.