How to Speak Decision Maker
by Matt McKay, Founder House Right
As we put away the tinsel, trees, lights, décor, rentals and truss from Christmas, we turn our sights toward 2019. For many of us who are technical directors and worship leaders, this means a new budget and potentially even new funds to make that next purchase.
It’s best to understand senior leaders’ (and sometimes even volunteer board and committee members’) native language when approaching them with a request. As Covey would say, “seek first to understand” their context and you may have a better shot at getting what your ministry needs…and perhaps even what you want.
Here are three contextual factors that make up the native language of a Decision Maker:
1. History.Decision Makers look back before pulling a trigger to move forward. How did the last capital purchase you made affect your ministry? Did that piece of gear that you (or your predecessor) promised would revolutionize ministry come through? Or is it perhaps in the closet right under the failed children’s check-in scanners, next to the outdated VBS curriculum?
Understand that Decision Makers who have any length of history have seen people like us come and go, and they are always wondering if our next request will outlast us. Did it make an impact? If it did, have you done your part to ensure that they know this?
2. Impact.A Decision Maker needs to know that this investment is going to have impact that is felt as widely as possible. If only you and the all-star audio engineer will understand how great a certain purchase is, then you need to reconsider your strategy in making this purchase possible. Some things are understood by all ages, no matter how understanding they are of technology. You may need to lump purchases together. For example, my grandma understands “prettier lights” on a stage but would never understand spending money on a new kick drum mic.
3. Mutual Care. We see our technical purchase as mission-critical to our pastor’s vision. Sometimes a Decision Maker who is not involved in weekend-centered activities (worship ministry/band/the arts/etc.) may see it differently. For example, if your Decision Maker is embedded in pastoral care ministry, or missions, they will need to know that you see their area as mission critical as well. A “small” purchase of a few hundred dollars would go a long way in pastoral care ministry. Both are critical – do we understand their world & do we know to whom we are speaking when making such an ask?
Take time to be strategic in how you approach 2019 in purchases. Do some homework in these three areas and take time to contextualize these conversations. You will go a lot further and faster if you do.