Early in my tech career, I knew that if I was going to be successful as a tech, I had a lot to learn technically. So I dove in. Twenty years into doing sound, lighting, and video, nothing has really changed in that regard. Things change so quickly in each discipline that it?s critical to continually invest in learning about what?s new and changing in our world. But the problem is that knowledge of technology is really only a small (though important) part of truly being successful.[quote]Technology is really only a small (though important) part of truly being successful.[/quote]
I know a lot of techs who are tenacious learners, and frankly some are more skilled than I at dealing with technology, but they still aren?t successful (or happy) in their jobs. As someone who is more technically natured, it?s easy to get sucked into the trap of thinking that being good with technology will translate to success. True, sometimes with a very understanding and knowledgeable boss it can. But for most of us, success will not come from being a technical guru alone; success will take pairing our knowledge of tech with the following critical skills:
Learn to Speak Pastor
I regularly hear from pastors who struggle communicating with their tech teams. Either they have techs who ?don?t get it?, or who only speak in partial thoughts and lose everyone they?re talking to. In order to be successful, you have to be able to communicate to your leaders clearly, using language they?ll understand and in complete thoughts. Before you communicate anything important with your leader, be sure to take a moment to outline what you need to communicate, what needs to be decided, and your supporting information for what you think needs to happen. And as you plan your conversation, remember this: Most leaders won?t take the time to understand how until they know why.[quote]Most leaders won?t take the time to understand how until they know why.[/quote]
Learn to Embrace Vision
The nature of being in a support role and often being an introvert makes it quite easy for techs to put on blinders and miss what?s happening outside of our worlds. This is another key frustration for church leaders, that their techs don?t get the big picture of what else is happening in the ministry. A few weeks ago I offered a killer deal on some demo equipment to a friend who I knew would love it, and he responded with, ?Man, I would love to do it and probably could push it through, but we have so many other ministry initiatives happening right now that are more critical. So I need to pass.? He gets the vision of his church, and he?s sensitive to what is most important and when it?s important. This is why he has the ear of leadership enough to have been able to push it through had he felt it was important enough to. You only earn that kind of respect and success by embracing and pushing the vision of the whole ministry.
Learn to Budget
He who has been faithful with little will be given more. Right? Learning to budget for your ministry (and as important, meeting your budget) is critical to your success. Now I?m not saying you have to be ultra-cheap or work miracles with no money, but work with your leaders every year to build a budget that will meet the needs they agree need to be met, and then stay within budget. In my experience, few ministry departments generally stay within budget, so you?ll gain a lot of respect and increase by being one that does.[quote]Few ministry departments generally stay within budget, so you?ll gain a lot of respect and increase by being one that does.[/quote]
Learn to Encourage
This recommendation may be the most unnatural to your personality, but I guarantee that it will be one of the biggest keys to your success. Years ago I hired an Assistant TD who had a knack for encouraging nearly everyone he came across in some way. He was always sincere and honest, never telling people something that wasn?t true, but he could always find something encouraging to say and I saw him gain favor quickly because of it. It?s still not completely natural for me when in the middle of tasks, but every day I continue to do this because it encourages others to their best and helps me be successful because of it.
Learn to Smile
This seems innocuous, and maybe even kind of silly, but I know a lot of tech folks who always look grumpy, and if we?re honest, probably are. Few of us will willingly spend our time with people who aren?t fun and a joy to be around, and it?s hard to be successful if people don?t want to work with you. Some days you need to be serious and some days will be a grueling challenge, but learn to be positive and have a genuine smile on your face whenever possible. That positive attitude will not only translate into you being more successful, but you might even find yourself happier too.
As a twenty-year veteran in the tech world now, I?m more convinced than ever that I will never stop learning and adjusting to this industry. But any success I?ve had has really only come since I started learning and applying these five principles. Continue to hone both your craft and your approach to working with others, and success can?t help but find its way into all you do.