Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hello to the office

Seth Godin has a post today called "Goodbye to the office". I want to share more thoughts about that in the future (it is questioning the need for offices at all), but it served as a spark to share some thoughts as I transition to our regional office:

Organization: How will we arrange people and space for productivity, collaboration, momentum, efficiency, and community? When there are trade-offs, how will we decide which value wins?

Systems: How can we set things up so our desired outcomes happen as automatically as possible? Everything from having the needed office supplies and ministry resources on hand to making sure our conference planning deadlines are met.

Technology: We've got office technology that is sufficient, but quickly becoming dated. Do we continue on with a physical server or go cloud based? Do we use regional funds to buy computers for our office staff? If so, what kind? Would investing in higher speed internet save us in travel costs (video/web conference) and efficiency? What would make the most sense in helping us serve the field? For communicating and collaborating across our ten national regions?

Communication: How are we going to communicate with each other? With our field staff? Who should be communicating what? How much should we respond to the field (use methods they are comfortable with), and how much should we lead the field (help them get better at embracing new/better communication channels)?

Field support: What are the best things we could do as an operations (and office) team to help our field staff better win, build, and send? What operational issues can we help them with or even take off their plate? What training should we give, and in what format (face to face, online, etc.)?

Environment: How can we create an environment in our office where people want to come in each day? And by environment, I am speaking comprehensively: physical (office decor and feel), emotional (a place that is relationally safe and where friendships flourish), and spiritual (deepening connection with the Lord and the body of believers that is stationed in our office).

Finance: How much money do we have to work with? What investments would provide the most benefit to our field ministries?

Change: Some things will need to change just because of the number of people coming in the office (seven new in the fall joining a current office of nine). But some things might need to change that will be difficult for our current office. How fast do we change? What is the best process? Who needs to be involved in the decisions?

Lots of questions (and that is certainly not a comprehensive list), especially for a guy that hasn't been based in an office since a college summer job.

So back to Godin's post. It is thought-provoking. But I think a well-led regional headquarters can be a very powerful force for accelerating the spread of the gospel to students in the Northwest. The above list is just the foundation. After you take the time to lay a solid foundation, then you really get to start building and seeing results. That's (part of) why I'm saying "hello", rather than "goodbye", to our regional office.


  1. Thanks for leading the charge on this.

    Yes, there are times when an office environment is the most efficient for teams to work....depends on your job description. Bottomline...let's not just do it the way we've always done it. Let's be intentional about maximizing it's use.

    One thought on communication I just had. I think whatever sort of regional communication we do needs to be different than just another email. Don't just add to the noise. What if you did a regional blog that RD's and various office staff could post on and we could respond/engage with it. Or you could use the Facebook group...assuming everyone's actually in there. Could do video with RD's who don't want to write and it could be a two way conversation not just blasting me an email.

  2. You know I'm with you on the regional communication. The video interviews/conversation is a great idea. We could be communicating with/between the region daily for virtually no cost other than the time it takes to film and upload. Definitely need to do this.

    I actually just started a GNW Office Fb group to try and increase intra-office communication while cutting down on email. Might take a little effort, but I think we could do the same with our regional group.

    Appreciate the comment, Matt!