Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

Adaptability: My new word for 2011

My new word for my consulting this year will be “adaptability.”  The online Merriam-Webster Dicitonary defines adaptable as “able to change or be changed in order to fit or work better in some situation or for some purpose.”  I am working with three very different clients in the early months of 2011 and the differences are testing my coaching abilities.  While I have always prided myself in my ability to adjust on the fly and accomodate certain cirumstances for the churches I serve, I have never felt the need or the external pressures to adapt to my clients as I have in the past 6 months.

There are many contributing factors to this increased demand on me to adapt, but two stick out of the crowd.

  1. The church market is more experienced when it comes to generosity, stewardship and campaigns.  Many churches we serve have “been there and done that” when it comes to capital campaigns.  They don’t need us to teach them from scratch.  They have the basics.  They want more coaching and less teaching. 
  2. The church is more educated when it comes to generosity and stewardship.  The accessability of information is at an all time high in our world.  There are blogs, websites, videos, ezines, online magazines, smartphones, twitter, facebook and many other methods out there to get information.  People can get information on anything at anytime in an instant these days.  Many churches are more informed and do not want/need the teaching, but still desire help in implementation.

I have been quoted as saying “Baseball is life and I can take anything in life and relate it to baseball and make it make sense.”  Well this topic is no different.  I have always said that the best coaches in the world are the longtime and successful high school coaches; no matter the sport.  Many with say that college coaches like Mike Krzyzewski of Duke Basketball or Joe Paterno of Penn State football are the greatest coaches because of their long standing success.  Others will use professional coach’s names like Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys or Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics as some of the greatest coaches.

I argue that high school coaches have to be the most innovative and adaptable of them all.  High school coaches have to coach what they get.  They do not get to recruit or draft their players.  High school coaches do not get to find players that fit the system that the coach is most confident and comfortable with.  Every year high school coaches have to evaluate their talent, learn the personality of the players, design strategies to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses.  They have to do this because the talents and talent levels of their players can vary radically year to year. 

Well, churches are just like high school teams.  The talents and talent levels of the “church players” I work with vary greatly.  The ultimate goals are pretty much the same for every church, but the path(s) to achieve those goals can (and probably should) look very different.  One of my goals for 2011 is to become a better consultant – to provide true consulting to my clients.  Consulting is defined as “talking about something with someone in order to make a decision.”  I plan to do more talking with my clients instead of talking to my clients.  Talking with them will help me to adapt my experience to their culture and needs.  That is why adaptability is my new word for 2011.

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