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How many times have you participated in a staff meeting and had a big idea shot down in an instant? Those of us who like to “play devil’s advocate” can quickly become the enemy of creativity.Ron Miguel via Flickr cc While I believe wisdom is vital, a pattern of rushing to identify the holes in the process or the potential for failure can throw cold water on the visionary gifts in other staff members. The long term effect may be that they stop dreaming or sharing their ideas at all.

For this reason, a great church leadership team needs to build a “Why Not” culture.

“Why Not” people allow themselves to embrace new possibilities before countering with detailed questions. They know the importance of sharing in the enthusiasm of an idea before addressing tactical concerns.

“Why” people can drain the team’s creativity by focusing on the potential pitfalls, the volume of work or satisfaction with the status quo. Every team needs realists, but focusing more on the “Why” than the “Why Not” can be perceived as negativity that hampers visionary thinking.

Teach your team to fight “The Cold Water Effect” by fighting it yourself:

  • Allow yourself to dream before giving your immediate opinion of an idea.
  • Share someone’s zeal and participate in the discussion before focusing on roadblocks.
  • For major decisions, make sure to give everyone involved time to pray individually after an idea is proposed.
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting and request a detailed plan. Sometimes an idea will prove its own flaws in the planning stage.
  • Refuse to let fear of failure win out over faith.

Photo Credit: Ron Miguel via Flickr cc 

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