Years ago, I heard my friend Nelson Searcy talk about staff members who are either PROJECTS or PRODUCTS.
PROJECTS are team members that are very much works in progress. They are usually young and lack experience, they are often new to the faith, and a little rough around the edges. They have raw talent and a huge upside potential, but it needs to be fostered and developed. Thus, the term PROJECT!
PRODUCTS are plug and play team members. They can hit the ground running. They have experience. They have done before what we are asking them to do. They will understand where to start immediately. They won’t have to be micro managed. They are plucked off the shelf somewhere else and placed in a new place ready to go! Thus, the term PRODUCT.
Here’s the catch: Every team needs a good mixture of both PROJECTS and PRODUCTS!
First of all, I don’t believe a team should contain all PRODUCTS. We always need to have people on our team that are works in progress. If the PRODUCTS are doing their jobs effectively, they should be consistently recruiting and employing new people from within the organization: new PROJECTS!
On the flip side, a team also shouldn’t contain all PROJECTS. Someone had to be developing the PROJECTS! That requires a few PRODUCTS! A team often needs a PRODUCT to come in from outside the organization with ready skills and experience. PRODUCTS bring in a unique outside perspective, having done what they will be doing, somewhere else! They can hit the ground running. They can also jump right in and lead, manage, and develop the PROJECTS on the team.
How do we know?
If we look around our team and recognize that NO ONE has ever worked for or led in, an organization larger than where we are, we probably have too many PROJECTS! We may need to bring in a few PRODUCTS to lead the charge and help take our PROJECTS to the next level.
If we have failed to raise up new staff from within the organization, then we have too many PRODUCTS who have become DO-er’s rather than EQUIPPERS. We need to push into out PRODUCTS to be people developers! By the way, PROJECT management is called discipleship!
What about your team?
Do you have the right mixture of Projects & Products?
What steps can you take to obtain and maintain a proper mix?