Guest Experience #1 – Define the Problem

We have a problem . . .

OK. Here we go. I’m going to walk through the Strategic Process by exploring the “guest experience” in a hypothetical church scenario. Please notice two things:

  1. The Strategic Process.  {1.Define the Challenge, 2.Clarify ‘What Is?’, 3.Envision ‘What’s the Hope?’, 4.Face ‘What’s in the Way?’, 5.Determine ‘What’s the Path?’}
  2. The ideas that I begin to clarify about the guest experience.  {How might you take advantage of the hypothetical strategic steps I walk you through over these next five blog entries?)

Define the Challenge
The first step in the Strategic Process is to define the challenge. In this step we want to draft a clear statement that clarifies what’s wrong. There is no point in engaging in future planning if we don’t have something that isn’t working, or that couldn’t work better.

Utilizing the principles in the book, Being Strategic, we will define the challenge by asking:

  • What isn’t working?
  • How can we (I) . . . ?  {finish the sentence}
  • Would this {the previous sentence} feel like success.

The Guest Experience Challenge
All right, here’s my first stab of how we would define the challenge as it relates to the guest experience on a Sunday morning in many of our churches today. Let me know what you think.

“It doesn’t seem like many of our guests return to our church after their first visit. How can we ensure that a considerably larger percentage of our first time guests will actually want to visit us again? If we can accomplish that, then it would feel like success to us.”

Notice that the first sentence describes what isn’t working. The second sentence finishes the sentence, “How can we . . .?” and the final sentence clarifies that we have adequately defined the problem.

I welcome your feedback.

Go to “Guest Experience #2: Clarify ‘What Is?’


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Strategic Sandwich

Nobody really thinks a lot about how to build a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you want a PB and J you know the ingredients, you know the tools, and you carry the knowledge and skills to put things together appropriately. (Once for an interview I had to write a “technical paper” on how to build one. So I have special knowledge on this particular topic.)

That said, if I asked you to build a PB and J for me, would it be just as easy? Or might you need to do a little more planning and thinking? The fact is, you’d need to do a little “Strategic Planning” to build me that sandwich. You wouldn’t have to. You could just make it the way you always do. But if you wanted to get the job done with excellence, you’d probably subconsciously walk through a strategic process in your brain. It’d probably look something like this:

  • What’s the problem? Answer: Wayne is hungry for a PB and J .
  • What are my current resources? Answer: I’ve got some Skippy Plain Peanut Butter, white bread, but no Jelly.
  • How does he like his PB and J? Answer: Crunchy Natural Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam (100% fruit) on toasted Rye Bread.
  • What is in the way of me getting this done? Answer: I don’t have the ingredients. I don’t have money to buy them. I only have an hour before lunchtime.
  • What is my plan of action? Answer: I’ll ask P. Wayne for a few bucks right now, drive to the corner store to purchase what’s needed, just before lunch I’ll toast his bread, put all the ingredients together and deliver to him his perfect PB and J.

In case you’re wondering. Yes. I’m hungry.

That said, who really cares about how I like my PB and J? Probably not you. What you DO care about is that the process you would have unconsciously gone through in your head is exactly what you should do when making future plans for different areas of ministry. I shared these four steps in “Strategic Spoiler Alert“. Here they are in the appropriate order:

  1. Define the Problem.
  2. Clarify What Is.
  3. Envision What’s the Future.
  4. Face What’s in the Way.
  5. Determine What’s the Path.
Go ahead. Think of an area of ministry you are struggling with right now. Set aside about 15 minutes to brainstorm your way through these four steps. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
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