The 10 Percent (Part 8)

By @ 10/06/14 in Finishing, Relationships

Ready to continue this conversation?

I’ve been talking about reasons why a Creative or a creative team doesn’t finish projects or creative initiatives.  I’ve tried to list the important things I’ve seen and heard and experienced when it comes to roadblocks to FINISHING.

Let’s continue.

Sometimes I see Creatives (and sometimes creative teams) get stuck because of relationships.  Yes, relationships.  I’ve written a bunch on the relationship between Pastors and Creatives — and I’ve explained at length the struggles often found between the two.

If this relationship isn’t managed well — if the relationship becomes strained, there can be bad consequences.  And one of those consequences i the church not completing an important initiative — an initiative that both parties are a part of.

And the project may not be completed because of this strain.

Let me explain how I’ve seen this problem manifest itself

Fear of not impressing

One of the reasons Creatives don’t finish tasks is their fear of being evaluated. And this is when the evaluation will be coming from their Pastor.

Remember, we are assuming a strained relationship here.  If the Creatives think they are going to get a bad report card from their leader, they will often freeze and stop.  Prolonging completion of a task or project could be one way of avoiding that fear of being harshly evaluated.

Yes, you want to impress your Pastor, but that’s not why you do what you do.  A relationship mended will help this issue — greatly.  As a Creative, you want constructive feedback.  But your fear of impressing will paralyze you and your team.

Communicate with your team, with your Pastor — and finish the job!

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By @ 10/01/14 in Creative Process, Friday's Tip, Leadership

Before I move on in this important conversation about finishing our creative initiatives strongly, let’s just pause for a moment.

There’s a pain medication commercial airing currently on TV that reminds the viewer that “a body in motion stays in motion.”  And I submit to you that the opposite of this adage is true for projects, creative ideas, daily tasks, half-written emails — if  an initiative is stopped, when a task is interrupted, it can be almost impossible to start again.

Statistics show us that we are interrupted nearly every three minutes, but get this — roughly half of those interruptions are self-imposed.

The result: When you’re working on something without a clear deadline, or without a clear path and process — when your research isn’t realistic or you have no clear and driving reason for doing what you do — seeing it through to its end can be a huge challenge.  It probably won’t happen.

Why does this happen?

When it comes specifically to the matter of finishing what we’ve started, why do we often hit a wall?  Management? Purpose?

We talked about 5 things that keep up from finishing let’s continue this discussion on Monday

Why are you and/or your creative team not finishing what has been started?

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By @ 09/29/14 in Creative Process, Finishing

“The 10 Percent.”  We’re talking about things that keep us from finishing.   Let’s look at reason number 5:

Make a timeline and action plan

This one is obvious.  Especially if you have been a follower of my blogs.  I talk about this all the time.

I even wrote a book about it.  It’s a good read ::  The Blame Game

A good creative process is important to a creative team.  The process is a little different for each team — the timelines will vary, but the principles are all the same.  The teams that have a process will be found to be successful.  The teams that don’t will be the ones that can’t finish a project or a creative initiative.

And that’s the subject we’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks.  We want to finish strong, but we have things that keep us from that realization.

Reason #5 is one of the most prolific :: not having a timeline or action plan.

And it’s a simple principle.  Set a realistic timeline.  Don’t leave out any steps.  Think of everything.  Lay out the action plan or steps that need to be taken.  Make the assignments and stick to the plan.

Try it — your team will not only love it, but they will be successful.  Very!

By @ 09/24/14 in Creative Team, Finishing, Planning

Let’s get right to it.  Reason #4 of why Creatives and creative teams have trouble finishing projects and creative initiatives.

Research and be realistic

This one is a very short conversation.  Why?  Because you are gonna know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s not Rocket Surgery!

Research goes very much hand in hand with the completion of the creative process.

In any creative project or initiative, you must figure out what you need to do, how long it might take, the process that goes along with it, and anything else you might have to do.

Be realistic in your calculations.  In extreme over or under estimates will get you in trouble.

If you’ve never been through a particular creative project, ask some people around who have done it in the past and learn from their mistakes. Ask other creative teams that you know who have had successes.

Research will help set you up and your team for success and help you finish well!

By @ 09/22/14 in Creative Team, Finishing

We are barely into the blog series entitled “The 10 Percent.”  We’re talking about things that keep us from finishing.   Let’s look at reason number 3:

Connect with your ultimate purpose

To piggy back off the previous point written in last Wednesday’s post, you also have to make sure that you are completely driven by the ultimate motivation.  It’s the motivation that, frankly, Creatives who get their motivation from or are influenced by the world don’t understand

If you are a Creative and are driven by just money, fame, or validation, or anything else that relies on worldly measurements, you might end up very disappointed and frustrated — especially when things don’t go exactly as planned (and yes, you can bank on this)

However, if you are driven by God, who is the one who gave you your creative talent and skill, you will gain satisfaction in your work.  When you KNOW that a project or creative initiative is completely connected to your overall vision and purpose in life, you are then more likely to actually enjoy the entire process, no matter how tedious it could get.

Then, (and just about only then) if things don’t go just as planned, you won’t get panicked or frantic, but you’ll use your “Godly motivation” to find solutions and continue moving forward to get it completed.

This is one of the big reasons why I hire Creatives who first lean and rely on their calling  to ministry more than their skill and talent.

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By @ 09/17/14 in Creative Process, Finishing, Team

So, I hope you did your homework.  It will be worth it.  Actually it would be a great exercise for your team to go through if your team is having trouble finishing projects.  It this problem is happening often, you must analyze to see if there are common patterns.  (Read the last blog for the team exercise.)

Before you get started with a project, you need answer this question for yourself and your team.

Why are you doing this?

Before you dive into that new idea, take a little while to ask yourself why you are doing it.    Does your team know what you are trying to accomplish?  Do they know how it meets the creative teams mission?  How does it meet the vision of your church?

Knowing these things is where some of the passion for the project or initiative is derived.

Are you and your team actually passionate about the creative initiative or
are you simply doing it because, eh, why not? What do you think accomplishing this project is going to provide for you, your team, the cause, your church?

Maybe your team is newly organized and they don’t know their purpose clearly.  Make it clear — very clear.  Your the leader, tell them often what their purpose is, both individually and as a team.  Spend some time thinking about this and decide where this is coming from before you waste time on doing it only to stop halfway yet again.

It’s my experience that If you and the team are really feeling strongly and passionately about the project, they will continue to move forward and they will not stop.  Finishing strong will be their goal.

By @ 09/15/14 in Finishing, Planning

Last week we began a blog series about finishing.  I entitled the series “The 10 Percent.”  I’d like to do this in a couple of segments.  First I’m gonna write about some things you should do before you get started.  That is important in making sure “finishing” can be realized.

The second set of blogs will be actual reasons creative teams don’t complete the task.

So, before you jump head in first, let me take you through some things to make sure you spend your valuable time wisely, and you can actually finish.

Let’s get started with reason #1  ::   Become Aware of Your Patterns

Have you found yourself starting and stopping projects a lot? Before you go down that rabbit-hole again, I want you to spend some time focusing on your patterns.

It’s gonna take some analysis and some very in-depth re-membering.  This is what you should do:

Write down all the projects and ideas you started but never finished. Any project or initiative that you started as a creative team and never was able to complete.  Think hard.
Try to remember what happened around the time you decided to put it off and why.  Anything?  Personnel changes?  System failures?  How much were you doing?  How much was on your team’s plate?  Don’t skip or pass by any detail.  Every detail is important.

Do you see any patterns?  Any items that show up at every failure?  Look hard and long.  Turn over every rock.

This is a good start in discovering the roadblocks to you and your team’s ability to “finish” well.

By @ 09/10/14 in Creative Process, Finishing, Problems

I’m in a new leadership position where I’ve been asked to evaluate the current creative arts systems, processes, staffing, etc.  I’m very excited about what I see.  Chandler Christian is a great place — a great church — and I can’t wait to see where God takes us.

In my evaluation, I keep running into what I’m gonna call “The 10 Percent.”  I’m finding that this common issue is showing up almost everywhere in the creative world I’ve been asked lead.

I haven’t explained “The 10 Percent” yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if your thinking and asking — “How can 10 percent cause so many difficulties?” Let me explain.

What I see all is good — actually it’s really good — no, it’s very good.

But it’s not finished.  It’s not complete.

In other words, most of what I see is 90 percent complete (some are more and others are slightly less).  And even though it’s really, really, really good stuff, because it’s not finished it’s causing many difficulties.

I know, “10 Percent” doesn’t seem like a big deal, but imagine this:  It’s not 10 percent in one area, or even two, but in just about every area.  Illustration:  Imagine taking 10 percent of stuff out of every room in your house.  Not just one room, but every single room.  Yes, even the garage.  Now, would it feel like home?  Probably not.  There would be TOO MUCH MISSING.  If you only removed 10 percent in one room, you probably could live through it, but your entire home missing that 10 percent —That’s a problem.  And it’s uncomfortable too.

In my situation, “The 10 Percent” creates problems for the creative team in these ways:

Personnel Issues
Equipment Inconsistencies
Systems and Process Failures

And of course, my Monday morning quarterbacking is telling me that it would have been easier just to finish it, but frankly, I can’t say that for certain because I don’t know the history of each of the projects.  I can say, however, that leaving the project 10 percent unfinished isn’t good enough.  And it is causing delays in moving forward.

And it’s not the first time I’ve seen this.  It’s definitely not the first time I’ve heard of this.  It can be a problem on many teams.  And yes, it can be a real problem on a creative team.  No matter what kind of team your on, not finishing the project will cause you difficulties.

So how can we change this?  How can we finish what we start?

I want to introduce some simple steps to help us stop wasting time and finally finish what we’ve started.

We’ll begin this journey next week.  And we will finish!!  Promise!

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By @ 09/08/14 in Creative Process, Finishing

I’d like to begin a new blog series about unfinished business.  I’m gonna title the series :  The 10 Percent.  And by the end of the blog series you will clearly know what I mean by that title.

I want to first present to you a Wikipedia entry on Unfinished Works.

Read this carefully and then on Wednesday I will dive into explaining why unfinished works happen and why the “10 Percent” is vitally important.

Wikipedia:  Unfinished Works
An unfinished work is creative work that has not been finished. Its creator may have chosen never to finish it or may have been prevented from doing so by circumstances outside of their control, such as death. Such pieces are often the subject of speculation as to what the finished piece would have been like; sometimes they are finished by others and released posthumously. Unfinished works have had profound influences on their genres and have inspired others in their own projects. The term can also refer to ongoing work which could eventually be finished and is distinguishable from “incomplete work”, which can be a work that was finished but is no longer in its complete form.

There are many reasons for work not being completed. Works are usually stopped when their creator dies, although some, aware of their failing health, make sure that they set up the project for completion. If the work involves other people, such as a cast of actors or the subject of a portrait, it may be halted because of their unavailability. Projects that are too grandiose might never have been finished, while others should be feasible but their creator’s continual unhappiness with them leads to abandonment.

Unfinished works by popular authors and artists may still be made public, sometimes in the state they were in when work was halted. Alternatively, another artist may finish the piece.

See you Wednesday!

By @ 09/03/14 in Building, Creative Team

The blog series continues as we talk about my philosophy of building the best creative team —  an A-Team.  Today is Part 10 and we look at the eighth and final principle.

Number 8:  Constantly Build

You can hire the best talent in the world, but remember it cannot stop there.  It MUST NOT stop there.

Development needs to occur at every level of the creative team … the top, middle, and bottom … and for always … forever and ever.  Amen

Yes, it’s true — hiring is a blend of art and science. The reality is that those creative organizations that identify, recruit, deploy, develop and retain the best talent will be the teams who thrive and create.  Thrive and create.  Thrive and create.

Never be done with building your team.  Life is a continuous learning experience for you and the team you lead. And team building and talent development takes work and is a consistent process, but you will be pleasantly surprised the impact it will make on you, your team, and your collective Kingdom impact.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the blog series about building an A-Team.  These are the things that I’ve learned and am learning in the process of building my creative teams.

Go get em!!