Two LEADership Practices to Master: WHY and HOW

by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director

(check out Part 1: Why)

“How?” is the number one question LEAD gets from congregational leaders.

Let’s be honest – considering all the tutorials available on zillions of social media platforms (YouTube, TED Talks, Pinterest, just to name a few), it seems like the question of “how” should have been answered by now.

Yet this is absolutely the right question to ask. Our behaviors – or “how” we do something – have a direct impact on the results.

Here are three bold steps for finding the right “HOW” for your goals. 

Step One: Measure Lead Not Lag

Metrics matter. There is a lot we can’t control – but we can decide what we will measure. Typically, our focus is on lag metrics. A lag measure is something that has already happened by the time you get the data. The results metric is always lagging. For example: How many people are in church? or How much money do they give? Both of these are lag metrics because by the time you are counting, it is too late to influence the outcome.

Lead metrics on the other hand are predictive and influenceable. They are strategically set to change the lag metrics. For example: How many intentional systems can we put in place on a Sunday morning to make new people feel welcome? or How many times in the course of a year do we inspire people to share their resources to reduce human need in our neighborhood?

For great information on this, read The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling.

Step Two: Execute Experiment

Try a pilot project. Add a short-term experiment to test an idea. Rather than asking “everyone” to study the Bible at their kitchen table, try inviting 10 households to pilot an in-home study with digital support (a Facebook group maybe?) for a season (what about Lent?).

Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but either way, a lot will be learned. If it works, the stories can be used as leverage for a larger experiment. No big risk here. In fact, the bigger risk is not to try.

Step Three: Pivot or Persevere

This “how” works on new or existing ministries. Once the lead metrics are in place, you can use “pivot or preserver” to guide next steps in much of congregational life.

  • Pivot…an incremental shift toward a new direction (adaptive challenge)
  • Persevere…more energy, effort, and excellence in the same direction (technical challenge)


The question of “How?” is a precursor to action.

Action is the call of a leader.

Engaging others in action is leadership.

Nothing happens without leadership.

As this year comes to an end, it is time to begin wondering about next year’s actions. These three steps offer a path forward. Let’s go!


Are you ready to:

  • Turn “Why” and “How” into action?
  • Connect with your leadership gifts?
  • Develop your strategic skills?
  • Lead in context?

Start the New Year right with LEAD Coaching!

Register by January 31, 2017 and pay by February 15th to receive 6 sessions for the price of 5.

Healthy leaders take advantage of coaching to put personal accountability in play recognizing the benefit not just to themselves but also to those they lead at home and in the congregation.

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  1. […] creative freedom that comes with a new organization has provided us with space to experiment, to pivot or persevere based on the results, to struggle with the issues that come with rapid growth and change, and to […]

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