the basics are beautiful

A clean stage.  No feedback.  Production team waiting for rehearsal to start, not running around.  Cameras pointed at the right thing at the right time.  Lights pointed to the right spot.  Graphics up at the moment we need them, gone the moment we don’t.

Ah…the basics.

They are beautiful.

So often, in the world of church production, it is easy to lose sight of the basics; the fundamentals.  There is always some bright shiny object that is distracting us from nailing the basics.  Just like the wide receiver who is so concerned with running for the end zone after the catch, that he drops the ball; it is easy to take our eyes off of what really matters.  In an attempt to do something spectacular, we kill the moment.

This is the 5th post based on 37signals values.  The basics are beautiful:

We’ll never overlook what really matters: The basics. Great service, ease of use, honest pricing, and respect for our customer’s time, money, and trust.

I was having a conversation with someone today and I was thanking them for the way they drive their team on the basics.  He never lets the team forget the small things that matter.  He felt like he was always nagging his volunteers to do the little things right, but I told him that I could tell a difference when he let up on the importance of the foundational parts of production.

I notice the difference in two ways:

Holding your team to the basics makes them better. 

In this conversation I was having, I admired that any time I felt like headroom on a video shot was getting too close, he would switch to a different camera and remind the operator of the importance of headroom before coming back to them.  This gentle reminder helps the camera operator, and it creates a better experience for our congregation.

The new people need to know what the basics are.  They need to understand the fundamentals of how you do production at your local church.  For many volunteers, they are only serving every few weeks, and it is easy to forget what matters.  They need to be reminded.  As the one who is there every week, it can get tiring to tell people ALL THE TIME what matters.  I always feel like a 3rd-grade teacher:

“OK class.  Who can tell me what headroom is?” 

It feels weird to remind people all time, but it makes them better.  It makes your team better.  It produces great results.

In my example, our video team is proud of the work they do.  A lot has to do with the talented volunteers.  It also has a ton to do with how they are led and that they are being constantly reminded of the basics of video.

Holding your team to the basics keeps the best performers coming back.

For the people on your team that are killers, the basics matter.  They are busting their butt to nail the basics and they expect everyone else on the team to care as much about foundational excellence as they do.  Oftentimes, they can be disappointed because the leader won’t hold the rest of the team to the same standards.

This is a fast way to lose the commitment of your best volunteers.  If nobody else is being called to a higher standard, why should they hold themselves to it?  That can get demoralizing after a while, and many people won’t stick around for you to wake up to the reality that holding everyone to the basics matters.

Before they leave, start expecting great things from your whole team.  Start reminding them often of the basics and why they matter.

By paying attention to the basics and holding everyone to the standard, you make your whole team better, which then serves your church the best.

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