SAMPLE: SYNERGY GROUP AGENDA
LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE: Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to observe a surprising conversation between a team of leaders. Each leader had invested heart, soul, and a lot of money into a wildly successful endeavor. With the group’s quarterly meeting approaching, each individual would recommit to the same mission, values, and business goals they followed for years. No less than twenty-five leaders (new and old) were reminded of the meeting’s logistics via email which included a small, yet explosive detail regarding lunch.
According to an unknown corporate policy change, the organizer was no longer obligated to pick up the tab, forcing the group itself to pay for lunch. This tiny revelation released a huge flurry of angry emails putting the leader on the spot and airing concerns very publicly. As the events unfolded, I was reminded of the following:
- Always Set a Good Example: As leaders, we know it is important to set a good example all the time, not just when people are watching or listening. When we think our employees are unaware of our words and actions, we can be tempted away from our best behavior. But, in this case, the very values the leaders agreed to uphold (and insisted their employees uphold) were ignored or forgotten completely.
- Consider First Impressions: Several attendees were new to the entire venture and would be attending their first quarterly meeting. These leaders were still evaluating their investment. Was this a good idea? Are we under good management? Do the investors work as a team? In this case, the first impression of the leadership team was tarnished. A small peek into the group’s communication style left much to be desired.
- Address Policy Changes Early: People think with their wallets, especially in a tight economy. When a policy change affects the bottom line, it is a good idea to explain it early and thoroughly, even if it seems to be insignificant. A leader builds trust when he or she boldly addresses disappointing policy changes. It also spoils the notion that the change is negotiable allowing individuals to accept the change and move on (or move out).
- Utilize eMail Etiquette: It is imperative that concerns resulting from a group email be discussed directly with the sender. In this case, the organizer could have requested sensitive conversation be held privately, gathered responses into one message for clarification, or addressed those familiar with the old policy separately. It is never appropriate to ‘call someone out’ or ‘put someone on the spot’ in a group email or in any group for that matter. Most importantly, confusing details are best explained by picking up the phone or walking down the hall (rather than ‘shooting off an email’).
- Remember the Big Picture: Unfortunately, focus on smaller, short-term issues can obscure larger, long-term issues from view. In this case, the organizer forgot about being perceived as someone who ‘takes care of investors’ and or someone who ‘displays a gesture of gratitude’ –regardless of the new policy. A lot of damage was done to the organizer’s reputation because people felt disregarded and he was unable to curtail harmful emails. In addition, the team’s reputation was damaged because they appeared petty and unrelenting.
At the quarterly meeting, all 40 people ate about $95 worth of pizza. But, the cost of lunch was much more than that. If you add up the hours spent composing, reading, discussing, and replying to all emails multiplied by 25 people (assuming each was making $50K/yr) – you get almost $15,000. And that doesn’t count damages to leader’s perceived character and the team’s spirit. Policy changes, regardless of initial and apparent impact, must be addressed quickly and completely!
Jesus spent years with his team of disciples preparing for His ‘policy change’. Under the ‘new law’, legalistic points of view and religious rituals became outdated. Today, the teachings of new life through salvation and a relationship with Christ stretch around the globe.
SYNERGY GROUP MEETING
Welcome (~5 Minutes)
At the beginning of each meeting:
- Open in prayer to get focused.
- Welcome new guest(s) to the Synergy Group.
- Provide short introductions (end with guests).
- Share a brief summary of high-points from the Leader’s Field Guide (above).
Leadership (~15 Minutes | 00:05)
Be prepared to share from professional experience and ask follow-up questions.
- Discuss the following lessons from the article: always set a good example, consider first impressions, address policy changes early, utilize email etiquette, or remember the big picture. Which lesson is the most challenging for you or your organization? Why? What can you do to improve or encourage improvement in that area?
- What are the costs or benefits (tangible and intangible) associated with policy changes? As a leader, how can you address policy change quickly and completely?
Spiritual Growth (~15 Minutes | 00:20)
Apply biblically-based and Christ-centered principles to your work and responsibilities.
Read Matthew 7:1-4: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”
- What are we called to do first when we have disagreements or issues to raise with others?
- What is the best way to enter into a conversation about your spiritual beliefs? How do you discuss your faith with others when they might disagree with your beliefs?
Praise & Prayer (~15 Minutes | 00:35)
Discuss recent successes and current business needs. Share what you are grateful for and request insight, collaboration, or help with accountability. Include a goal for next week based on your discoveries today! Prayer is an important part of seeking him first (Matthew 6:33). Some groups share a list after each meeting; then update one another throughout the week! Pray together now and for each other during the week.
Networking (~5 Minutes | 00:50)
Share announcements and make professional connections. You are invited to connect via LinkedIn and offline, too!
Challenge (At Home | 10-15 Minutes/Day)
This upcoming week, strengthen your relationship by reading about, praying with, and listening to God.
- Review the list of reminders in the article The Case of the $15,000 Pizza and make a commitment for improvement or continued consistency in each area.
- Review Matthew 7:1-4:
- What measure are you using to judge others?
- Do you have a plank in your own eye, what is it?
- How can you pray about this ‘plank’?
- What scriptures offer healing or encouragement in this area?
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The Synergy Group Agenda is exclusive content for group members and their guests.