Facility Stewardship Requires Creative Thinking

by | Facilities, Leadership, Operations

I have been reading a book by John Maxwell entitled How Successful People Think. It’s a short and easy read…you should pick up a copy.

One of the sections of the book is on Creative Thinking. I have always thought of myself as a creative thinker and so this section really interested me and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

When I turned to the first page, the top quote was from legendary head football coach, Vince Lombardi…and I must admit, it ticked me off as I read it:

“The joy is in creating, not maintaining.”

That just felt wrong within the world of Facility Stewardship and Management.  If you look at the Total Cost of Ownership of a facility (see pie chart) over 40 years, 71-85% of the total cost of ownership is committed to operations (maintaining, as it were) and not in the “creating”. I almost put the book down thinking that this was going to go against all that I teach, write about, consult on, and beat on the proverbial Facility Stewardship drum. How dare he!

However, I caved in and decided to continue reading…and man, am I glad I did!

What John Maxwell went on to explain was the need for Creative THINKING. Now that is a concept I can clearly get behind and one that I do not think is encouraged enough in the realm of Facility Stewardship and Management. While “maintaining” our ministry facilities are critical to the financial and operational viability of our organizations, that does not mean that those of us entrusted to steward these facilities are to put our minds in neutral or in a stagnant nor complacent “maintaining” state. May it never be!

In fact, I would contend that you need to super-size your creative thinking. Most facility church staff that we meet with are dealing with significant facility issues and have to become experts in creative thinking that leads to intentional means and methods to accomplish what is required with shrinking budgets, depleted staff, and ever-growing deferred maintenance issues.

Maxwell outlined 5 principles I believe apply to the creative thinking that facility, operation, and administration professionals must embrace:

  1. Creative Thinkers Value Ideas – They are reading, asking questions, studying, and looking for new and better ways to get the job done.
  2. Creative Thinkers Don’t Fear Failure – Be open to failure and fail forward. You can’t learn from mistakes if you don’t make any. If you never try new things, you will never have the chance to fail (which leads to learning and success).
  3. Creative Thinking Adds Value to Everything – Maxwell stated, “Creativity is being able to see what everybody else has seen and think what nobody else has thought so that you can do what nobody else has done.”
  4. Creative Thinking Draws People to You and Your Ideas – Creativity is intelligence having fun! Do you ever notice how people gravitate to those having a good time and enjoying what they do?  Be contagious!
  5. Creative Thinking Challenges the Status Quo – There are 7 words of a dying organization…“We have always done it that way.” – Break the mold.  Think and act outside the box. Creativity and innovation always walk hand in hand.

If you have been entrusted to steward your facilities, you owe it to your “boss”, your team, your leaders, and YOURSELF to be creative in your thinking. Surround yourself with others that will join the process.

THINK CREATIVELY…BE INTENTIONAL!

Tim Cool is the founder of Smart Church Solutions.

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