#10 Let Your Yes Be Yes and Your No Be No (with Thomas Lane)

Show Notes

What do you do when an employee says they’re going to do something, but they don’t do it? Do you get upset? Fire them? How SHOULD you react? In this episode with return-guest Thomas Lane, we discuss the topic of letting your yes be yes, and your no be no!

Bonus Episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kaagu5cX6zM

Follow Thomas: https://www.instagram.com/thomaslaneva

For more resources, visit https://www.reallifeleaders.com/podcast

Have a leadership question you want answered? Email [email protected] and you might even be in an episode!


Chantel Ray:                 Hey guys, welcome to the real life leadership podcast, where we share real life stories from real life leaders to make you a better leader. And we are so excited, we have Thomas Lane, from Ascent Church, who is an amazing leader, and my cohost, Heather -

Heather:                       Hello.

Chantel Ray:                 Who is also an amazing leader. So today, we are talking about let your yes be yes, and your no be no. When I say that, what do you think of?

Thomas Lane:               I think it's confusing. At first, I'm like, wait what did she say?

Heather:                       Yes be yes.

Thomas Lane:               I think what I hear is just get to the point, you know what I mean? Just don't rattle on, don't make a lot of excuses, just own it. If it's a yes, give me yes, if it's no, if it's a no. You don't have to go into this, "Yes, but ..." no, just say it, get to the point.

Chantel Ray:                 What do you think of when I say that, Heather?

Heather:                       Well, it's one of our core values, so it's really important to us. But you need to own your decision. So one of the things that drives me and everyone else crazy is when someone says, even if it's a kids birthday party, like, can you come to the birthday party? And they're like, yes. And then they just never show up.

Thomas Lane:               Oh, it's obnoxious.

Heather:                       Yeah.

Chantel Ray:                 Especially when you have to pay $30. Did you hear about that story, oh my gosh ... this is a good story. There's this lady who ... she had a wedding, and she was paying $100 per person. And she said ... I think I'm making up these numbers, because I don't remember them. But it was something like, you can actually Google it. I think it was like, 45 guests did not show up. So in her mind, that's $4,500. So what she did is she sent out a bill. Like if you were a couple, she sent you a bill for $200. And she said, basically, let your yes be yes and your no be no. You said yes, I'm coming. Ghosted.

Thomas Lane:               If I paid for it -

Chantel Ray:                 I paid for it, and here's your bill. Thank you very much.

Heather:                       Thank you.

Thomas Lane:               I mean, come on. I wanna know if they responded. If they sent her a check.

Chantel Ray:                 I doubt anybody would have written her a check, but maybe they would have sent a gift.

Heather:                       True.

Chantel Ray:                 Maybe like, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, here's a $200 gift.

Thomas Lane:               That's crazy.

Chantel Ray:                 But I mean, that made national news when she did it. That's a perfect example of let your yes be yes, because it causes a rippling effect. Because you didn't say what you were gonna do, now, I'm out $4800 and that's really not fair to her.

Thomas Lane:               Not at all.

Chantel Ray:                 So can you tell a story about when this has happened to you?

Thomas Lane:               Oh, goodness, all the time.

Chantel Ray:                 Make it as specific as possible.

Thomas Lane:               The year before we opened, you know, you're building a launch team, you're recruiting people, one that comes to mind is, we probably had eight or ten people who said, "I'm on the launch team, I'll do it. I'm in. Whatever you need, I'm there." Never showed up again. Didn't come to a meeting. I've had people who've never come to the church, who looked me in the eye and said, "Whatever you need, I'm here for you. You got it. I wanna give, I wanna serve." Never showed up. Yeah, and it's awkward. It's a little weird, because you see them around, and it's just like, did I do something? Like what changed?

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah.

Thomas Lane:               One, you want me to be specific, one guy, great dude, good friend, and that's what's even weirder, he was a friend. He said, "Hey, I'll pull the trailer." We have a 24 foot trailer with literally everything we own is in the trailer. Everything is in the trailer. He said, "I'll pull it as long as you need." So one week, he came in, he pulled the trailer, he unloaded it, right before I go to preach, he's like, "Yeah, I don't think I can do this anymore." I said, "We'll talk about it. Maybe your schedule's too much, maybe you need to do it once a month, let's talk about it."

Chantel Ray:                 And right before you preach at that.

Thomas Lane:               Right before. Of all times, yeah. So service ends, he definitely ignored me, avoided me after service, left immediately. Dropped the trailer off, and we never heard from him again. Never saw him again. We were calling him. Texting him. Facebook message. Didn't respond. And within a few months, his family ... I think he was Coast Guard, they went up to Alaska. Never ... I don't know if something happened. He just completely disappeared.

Chantel Ray:                 So what ... if you had to redo that, like that whole scenario. Okay. Here's a leader, who's hearing that. How could you have prevented that from being a bigger fall out? Because that was a big role and it left a big hole.

Thomas Lane:               Mission critical.

Chantel Ray:                 So if you had to look at that again, what would you do differently?

Thomas Lane:               I would have done a lot of things differently. I don't know if he didn't see how important it was? I don't know if he thought, oh I'm just moving the trailer. I don't think he realized if I don't do this, we literally can't have church. You know what I mean? I don't know if he understood the importance of it, I don't know if he understood there wasn't a backup. I don't know if he got the vision behind it. I think we did a lot of things wrong.

I don't think I worked quickly enough to get him some backups. Maybe it was too much on him, and he's like, oh it's fine, I can keep doing this, but in his head, he's thinking this is too much work. I can't do this every week. So I think there was a lot of things, looking back, which I did wrong.

Right now, we have four guys who rotate and pull it. It's a lot healthier. And no one's ghosted us since. So I think maybe -

Chantel Ray:                 And that's the biggest thing when you're dealing with volunteers. What I used to do is I'd say, "Would you be willing to work in the children's ministry for one week?"

Thomas Lane:               There you go.

Chantel Ray:                 If after that one week, that's all your commitment is, you won't have to ever do it again, but I'd like you to try it just to see if you enjoy it. And so, for me, listening to that story, I would say the three things I would have done is, after the first week, ask him, "do you like it?"

Thomas Lane:               How was it? Is that what you expected?

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah, is this something -

Thomas Lane:               Because maybe it was completely different from what he was envisioning.

Chantel Ray:                 Right. Maybe he was like ... and number two, how long of a commitment do you want to make to doing this? Can you do a four week commitment?

Thomas Lane:               That's really smart.

Chantel Ray:                 Because then he could have said it. Because truthfully, in his defense, his yes was yes and his no was no, because he never made a commitment, like I'm gonna be here every week.

Thomas Lane:               Yep. I'm gonna -

Chantel Ray:                 For the rest of my life.

Thomas Lane:               And in the church world, it's almost like a life sentence. It's almost like, oh you're serving? You're gonna serve here until you die. Or until you leave the church.

Chantel Ray:                 And that's why it's really important to make end dates. I know a couple people, like I know a perfect example of someone actually who's going to our church, who ... he was at the Wave Church, and he was in security, and he literally just felt like he never got a break. Every week he was always on. He'd been doing it, he was there every single week for three years straight, and he didn't feel like he could take a break. So guess what he did? He just left.

Thomas Lane:               Yeah, absolutely. I think mentally people quit before they actually leave. And I think it's on us as leaders to ask those question, are you good? Do you need a break? Because a lot of men, in particular, I'm fine, I'm good, I'm tough. And like, we really have to dig. Like, are you sitting with your wife? Are you going to church? Are you okay? And I think sometimes people get so excited about the mission or the vision. They put that aside, but I mean, Jesus rested all the time. He got up early to spend time alone with God, he didn't heal everyone. He went off to do this, he showed us that isolation's important, that rest is important, that alone time with God is important. And I think if we don't model that in our leadership, if our team doesn't do that, it's just a matter of time before they burn out.

Chantel Ray:                 And one thing we did was say, "Hey, we wanna give our regular volunteers a break for one month. Would anyone like to volunteer for just one month to give our regular folks a break?" And we had huge response from that, because again, the lower the level of commitment of entry, the higher the number of people that are gonna raise their hand and say, me, me, me, me.

Thomas Lane:               There's a church consultant, his name's Carey Neuhoff. He's a pastor, and he does a lot of church leadership. And he always says, if you give people a way to ... if you give people an out, they'll often lean in.

Chantel Ray:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative). I like that.

Thomas Lane:               Exactly what you're saying. If you say it's four weeks. They're like, okay, I'll do that. And I think most, if not 90% of them do it, and they're like, I can do this, but if you say can you do it for a year, can you do it for the rest of your life, you don't even wanna commit.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah.

Heather:                       Yes.

Thomas Lane:               So give people a way out, where it's not awkward to say, hey, I did it for four weeks, it wasn't for me. I think that's super effective. We don't really do that. For us, right now, it's just kind of you serve until you're ready to stop. But I think it's healthy to have exits.

Chantel Ray:                 So what's the number one reason, when you feel like you tell people can you do this, and they don't do it. What are the excuses they give you?

Thomas Lane:               They're too busy, they didn't realize what it involved, it wasn't for them, they weren't as good as it as they thought they would, I really think business is probably the main one.

Chantel Ray:                 I think that's an annoyance too.

Thomas Lane:               People over commit like crazy.

Heather:                       Oh yeah.

Thomas Lane:               I don't even wanna hurt anyone's feelings. I think people like you, wanna impress you, wanna be Mrs. Reliable. And so they're like, yeah I can do that, and when they sit down and like, wait, I'm not sleeping enough as it is, I don't see my kids enough as it is, I think we just over commit.

Heather:                       Yeah, people are natural people pleasers.

Thomas Lane:               Absolutely.

Heather:                       So they're afraid they're gonna disappoint if they say no. I'm sorry, I just don't have enough time for that right now. Even as employees, so when we say, "Okay, can you do this, can you do this." They're, yes, yes, absolutely, sure, yep, add it to my list, no problem.

Thomas Lane:               They wanna be the go to person.

Heather:                       Yeah. Like, obviously, you wanna be like, yeah I'll do everything. And you can't do everything. It's just not possible.

Thomas Lane:               No.

Heather:                       And you have to be upfront to be like, what we've done, we figured that out. We were like, what are you gonna do, and I'm gonna do it [inaudible 00:09:23] okay yeah. Then they come back and we're like, what did you do, and they're like, oh I got one of them done. What? One of the 20? Okay. That's ... what did you do all week? So what we realized was that's too overwhelming. People can't do ... just like you're talking the volunteer world. So we have people commit to three things that they're gonna do. I don't care if it snows, your kid gets the flu, you know, the plague drops over your house. You ... these three items will get done this week. And that's much easier for them too. Okay, I have focused on these three items. I'm gonna get a lot of other things done, that's life.

But, these three things are gonna get done. And we've found that people can manage three items and instead of, yeah they're gonna get a lot more, but these three are priority this week. We're gonna get these three things done, and that's how we kind of move up.

Chantel Ray:                 So, I have ... you can put me as a quote for this.

Thomas Lane:               Here we go.

Chantel Ray:                 Here we go. What I like to say is let your yes be yes and your no be no, what that means to me is I would rather you disappoint me now than disappoint me later.

Thomas Lane:               Oh that's good.

Heather:                       That's true.

Thomas Lane:               That's why they, yeah that's why they don't wanna disappoint you.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah, because that's the worst thing that you can do. I'd much rather you disappoint me now. I'll get somebody else to do it.

Thomas Lane:               And the disappointment's greater the longer it takes.

Chantel Ray:                 So much greater.

Thomas Lane:               It's a little disappointment if they're like, I can't fit that. But if they say, I got your back, it's gonna be done by Friday, there's a ton more [inaudible 00:10:47] if I didn't get around to that.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah.

Thomas Lane:               That's way worse. I think it's a people pleaser thing, it really is.

Chantel Ray:                 The disappointment is so ... I would say it's 10 times greater. Or more.

Thomas Lane:               Easily, yeah.

Chantel Ray:                 So, I wanna give you an example. So Kendra Wilkinson, I know you don't who she is, because she is a Playboy ... just even if you know who she is, pretend like you don't, he's our Pastor. You shouldn't know.

Heather:                       Yeah.

Chantel Ray:                 Anyway, she's drop dead gorgeous, huge boobs, skinny body, absolutely like amazing, right? She was Hugh Hefner's ... one of his three top girlfriends, and they did a show called ... what was it ... Girls Next Door.

Heather:                       Yes. Girls Next Door. That's what it was.

Chantel Ray:                 So anyway, she spinned off and did her own show. And I wish to God. Kendra Wilkinson, if you're listening to this, I need the clip of this, okay. So somebody's gotta get me this clip, okay. It was the best clip. What she did was ... so she had an assistant. And she gets so mad at her assistant, so she goes, "this is ridiculous." She goes, "I feel like I'm your assistant. I'm constantly reminding you of what you should do. You're my assistant, you should be saying ... but everyday I'm going, did you do this, did you do this, did you do this." She's like, I'm sick of doing that. Let me remind you one more time. You're my assistant. I'm not yours.

And I literally have that conversation all the time with people. Because I say, "If you completed whatever it was, this is important to me, I shouldn't come to you and say, did you do that?" You should have already sent an email to me because I have this many things in my brain. If you can take that out of my brain, my life becomes so much easier.

Heather:                       Yes.

Thomas Lane:               Yes.

Chantel Ray:                 So, do you have any examples of that and how to ... my solution is just to tell the Kendra story. When I tell it ... I tell it all the time, but what's another way that ... there's probably a way better way to instill that than that story, I don't know. What do you think is a good way to get that across to people?

Thomas Lane:               I have a phone call, they actually called me before we started ... having that same conversation. It happens all the time. And I think in both of our worlds, there's so much going on. And it never stops. I think it makes it harder. I don't know ... I have a temper. Most people don't think I do. You can see that a little maybe in preaching when I get excited.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah.

Thomas Lane:               So honestly, I used to just do it immediately. I have to write it down. I literally, when I'm angry at something, I literally have an app ... it's Notes in my phone.

Heather:                       Notes.

Thomas Lane:               I write down every thought, and then I come back in a few hours, and I'm like, okay that's really rude. Like a pastor shouldn't say that. You know what I'm saying? A good friend shouldn't say that, a leader shouldn't say that.

Heather:                       Yeah.

Thomas Lane:               But really for me, I've gotta cool off, but that's just me. And I don't think everyone has a temper. But I have to ... man, I was gonna say that? For me, I have to chill, I have to take a deep breath, a lot of my team is young. They've never had a real job, real big boy or big girl job, so I have to realize, when I was that age, I did things like that too. I gotta take a breath, try to relate to them a little more. I don't know a better way to communicate it. But sometimes, it feels like that. If I give you three assignments, and then I'm constantly like, "Hey, did you finish those? Can I help you with those? Hey, has that been done yet?" Like, that's still ... mentally, I need to be able to unload that.

Chantel Ray:                 Yes.

Thomas Lane:               And be like, I don't have to think about this, I don't have to worry about this. But mentally, if I know deep down it's not gonna get done unless I remind you, it's almost like, what's the point.

Chantel Ray:                 Right.

Thomas Lane:               I could have just done it faster.

Chantel Ray:                 Done it.

Thomas Lane:               I don't know how to communicate that with grace. Right now, that's what I'm doing is trying to slow down, give it the benefit of the doubt. What are some of your thoughts?

Heather:                       And I think that ... and we have this happen a lot, like there's an example that we had recently, where Chantel had asked someone to do something, and she was on vacation. And so they did it. They took care of it, but they didn't wanna bother her while she was on vacation. And so, she ends up, while she's on vacation, because her brain doesn't stop ... that she said, "Hey, was this done?" And they were like, "Yeah, this was done, but I didn't wanna bother you while you were on vacation, I was just gonna tell you when you were back." And she told them, she said, "You know, if you ... it's okay. It doesn't matter if it's 2 a.m., whatever, email me and just say, 'Hey, this was done, all completed, because I'm able to then empty that out of my brain.'"

And especially, just communicating that with the people that work under you to say, "Look, as a leader of this organization, I have lots of things in my head." Ideas, you know ...

Thomas Lane:               I don't think people realize that.

Heather:                       No they don't realize that. They have no idea. Because they're thinking, "Oh, it's past 5:00, I don't wanna bother her, she's at home with her family," well no, she's still going. They don't realize that at 5:00 it just doesn't stop. And if they can just ... and just communicating to them and say, "Listen, I want you to know, I don't care if it's at 8:00 at night, I don't care if it's whenever, if you finish something, just shoot me an email, it's fine. I'm not gonna ... if I'm at family time, I'm not gonna look at it, but at least it's one thing I can check off my list."

And just explaining that to them. Because I think a lot of people just don't realize it. They don't wanna bother you. Or they're just ... they forget. But just reminding them how important that is, I think is really important. And having that conversation -

Chantel Ray:                 So a couple of our employees at the end of the day ... not everyone, because we have some people that have gotten past that, but especially for the first six months they start with us, and some people who just ... it really works for their personality style, and it's great really for everyone. What we have them do is called an end of day report that just says, "Hey, just so you know, you asked me to do one, two, three. Here's the update, blah blah blah. Here's what I accomplished today, and here's what I've gotten done."

And that really, for people who are a little scattered, a little ADD, if you say this has gotta be done everyday, that's one idea I have. The second one that we did was we created these teams where we played Team A against Team B. Heather, tell them about that.

Heather:                       Yeah, so we kinda wanted to make a fun competition. And it's funny because this is ... this goes a little off topic, but knowing what makes your employees happy ... so we were gonna buy them lunch. And really what they wanted was a day to work on a project that advanced the company, which was so awesome.

Chantel Ray:                 When we found out that, we were like, oh my God, we have the right people under us.

Thomas Lane:               Yeah, that's great, absolutely.

Chantel Ray:                 They'd rather spend a day working on something to advance the company than us buying them lunch.

Heather:                       Yeah, so side note [crosstalk 00:17:25]

But what we've done, is they commit as a team, and they commit to these tasks, and these are above and beyond their regular stuff. So these are what we're gonna do to try to win. So they have these tasks and we put them up on the wall. We have these dry erase boards on our walls. And we write them up there so they can see them. And then ... they even made this cute little thermometer now, so I can see doo, doo, doo, they can watch each other, team versus team.

Thomas Lane:               Cool.

Heather:                       So right now, we have the media team versus the web team, and they have names and logos and so they really get into it.

Chantel Ray:                 They spent $60 on creating their own shirts for their team.

Heather:                       It bonded them together. And so, now, they rely on ... I even go over there and tell them, I'm like, "Listen, I want you guys to succeed. So if I have to come in and help with a project, I'm gonna help." Like I want your teams to win, and then it's a teamwork. So now they're all in it together. And they help jump on each other's backs so that they're committed to doing these things this week, and they're gonna get them done.

Thomas Lane:               That says something about the team too.

Chantel Ray:                 So, do you have anyone that you work with that you feel like every week, you're just so frustrated because they said they were gonna do this and they didn't. Next week, they said ... they're just not getting it done.

Thomas Lane:               I gotta be careful, they may be listening.

Chantel Ray:                 So what are some ideas to get those people ... we've got those two ideas ... any others to get them to engage and say, this is what we're gonna do.

Thomas Lane:               Sure. You guys mentioned Dave Ramsey at some point, maybe in a different podcast, but Dave's biggest question in the world of business ... like entrepreneurship stuff is how do you motivate people? How do you motivate people? He says, "I don't. I hire motivated people." I love that. Because it sounds like your team's super motivated. It's not like you're telling me they're lazy, I don't know what to do -

Chantel Ray:                 But hold on, but hold on. So before we create ... I wanna be really transparent. So before we created those two teams, team against team, we were feeling like ... I'll tell you the number one excuse that we get of why they can't get that done. So what they say is, we'll start on Monday and these are our three top priorities. But things come up during the week that maybe a little bit more of a priority than that. And so what the excuse they'll make, even though there's no reason why they still couldn't have gotten one, two and three done, is they'll say, "Yeah, you had me do A, B and C, but the problem is you also gave me E, F and G." Which truthfully, the E, F and G shouldn't have deviated them that much. They still should have been able to do A, B and C.

Thomas Lane:               Sure.

Chantel Ray:                 But how do you respond to that?

Thomas Lane:               I think it's a problem of priorities, personally. I don't know if I ... I think a way I struggle is maybe I don't make it clear, this is priority one. Meaning do this now. Don't let anything get in the way. Like they say, eat your frog, you know what I'm saying. Like do this thing first. When Monday hits, Monday morning, because obviously our week starts on Sunday. Monday, you're in the office, I want you to do this now.

I think what gets coached, what gets measured gets improved. I think we have to constantly, at least in the beginning, constantly monitor and show this is valuable. This is important. I think the worst thing I could do is say, "Hey, would you be able to do this?" And not follow up. You know what I'm saying? Because that shows to my team that it doesn't matter. It doesn't care. I've been giving clear feedback, I think showing how it ties into the bigger picture, I think some people miss that at first. I think some people think, what does this Facebook post ... oh, it was a day late, who cares. You know? I think people think, deep down, who cares if I didn't send an email out. I'll send it Friday. But it's like, guys, look. No. Baptism was Sunday. If the link's not up Friday, people can't ... you know what I'm saying. Stuff like that.

I think it's our job to make people see this is how this ties into the big picture. And people need to understand, if you're asking them to do something, it automatically should come to the top. I don't like to play that card, I'm the boss, do this now. But the reality is, if you're asking someone, I tried to explain this the other day. I said, "Guys, I'm not trying to play this card. If the boss calls you out of the blue and says, I need you to do X -

Chantel Ray:                 It goes to the top of the list.

Thomas Lane:               I don't want you to pull your car over and do it on the side of 264, but it needs to be a priority. Because one, I shouldn't have to ask you. But if I am, you need to do it immediately. I think I'm a little too nice sometimes. I have a weird role where people ... I'm the boss, and CEO, but I'm also friend, I'm also pastor, I'm also maybe mentor. So I don't know if people are saying, "Is he being a coach right now or is he being the pastor or is he being the boss?" I think sometimes I have to be very clear. This is the role I'm taking now, and I need you to do it immediately.

Chantel Ray:                 Well, I think if you can somehow tie it into their scorecard, or any kind of bonus -

Thomas Lane:               Yeah, that's a great idea.

Chantel Ray:                 So number one, I truly believe, and we've talked about this ... I believe every single person should have a scorecard so they do know what winning looks like.

Thomas Lane:               That's good.

Chantel Ray:                 But not only that, they should also ... if you can come up with some kind of bonus metric ... and it can literally be as cheap as ... at the end of the month, you get lunch, or you don't. Because then you're tracking who's doing it. If you can pull up those songs, this is one of the things we do.

Thomas Lane:               Yeah, bring them out.

Chantel Ray:                 So, we -

Heather:                       One of the things Chantel does too ... I'm gonna bring out the songs, but one of the things that she says is, "What's rewarded is repeated."

Chantel Ray:                 Yes.

Thomas Lane:               Completely agree with that.

Heather:                       So, your reward is repeated. So on our team site, we like to make songs. So we have these songs. So do you wanna talk about your -

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah, you play it. So if you're doing good and you've got a scorecard, so everything's based on one to five. So four or higher, you're doing great and you're gonna get this song ... and we all stand and we all cheer, but if you've got a three or below, we're playing this song ... which says, I don't want no mediocre, it's exactly what it says. So basically what the song says, is I don't want no mediocre, I don't want no mediocre, and that's what we're saying. If your scorecard's at three or below, that's not what we're looking for. We want high level people that are gonna move us forward in the game ... there it is.

Thomas Lane:               One to three.

Chantel Ray:                 So we make it fun. But I think we also need to have those kind of conversations with people where we say, "Hey, you're not winning."

Heather:                       Yeah, you have to do that. It's not fun.

Thomas Lane:               It's really hard, but you have to.

Heather:                       Yeah.

Chantel Ray:                 Give us some examples now of things that you've had to say no to. So, obviously, everyone wants to meet with the pastor.

Thomas Lane:               Yeah.

Chantel Ray:                 So give us some examples where you've just had to say ... what are the boundaries you've created for yourself and how have you been able to do it in a way that's not offensive?

Thomas Lane:               My favorite book is called Essentialism, by Greg Mckeowen. It's awesome. It's so, so good. Essentially, it's about the discipline pursuit of less. Figuring out the things that only you can do. Or the things you're best at and just nailing it. You know what I mean? Rather than doing 50 things okay, but I make a list of things that I really have to protect. Preaching is a priority. When Monday morning hits, I have to write. Because that has to be awesome. That can't be okay. When Sunday comes around, I can't be like, this was a decent sermon. I need to end the week thinking that was the absolute best I had this week, it's all I got. With practice, with prep, with prayer, praying over it.

The second thing for me is the team. You gotta love on the team, you gotta lead the team. You gotta make sure the culture's healthy, that they know what they're doing. So really, I build my calendar around those things. And everything else is extra. If I have time, I'd love to do a meeting. I'd love to do this and that. But I think you just have to say no. And people eventually learn ... like my team now gets that. If a counseling comes up, they can look at my calendar and say he doesn't really have time. I can do this.

We wanna create a culture too of the pastor doesn't have to do everything. Which is really healthy. I don't do that much counseling. And at first, people say, you don't what? It's really not my gift. I'm not a good counselor. I would say, I'm not very pastoral. Which is a weird thing to say, but I'm not a very timid, let's talk about it, I'm just ... that's not me.

Chantel Ray:                 Right.

Thomas Lane:               So I try to ... if people push back on that, I honestly say, look, I'm not a great counselor, you don't want ... you probably don't wanna meet with me. You wanna meet with this ... we have this team of 12 people. They are good listeners. They're good counselors. They can help you. I think having a clear why and letting people know, we have all these burdens, we have all these expectations, having the team bond in with that too. Not, Chantel's too important for this, she's too busy, but let her know, she's being most effective in these three things, we're gonna let her do that.

Not that she doesn't have time for you, not that she doesn't care about you, but she's most effective, the organization is best when she is doing these five things. So we're gonna protect her time. I think the team sees that, and everyone rallies around it, everyone wins.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah, I feel like I had a guy who ... I met with his leader, I spent maybe 45 minutes with them, and then he said, yeah I'm gonna take these steps forward, and then he just ghosted, I never heard back from him. And then he was like, he came back, two months later, and was like, "Hey, I'm so sorry, blah, blah, blah, this happened, this happened, can I set up another meeting with you?" And I was like, "Okay," so he sent another email, and then he didn't do whatever he was supposed to, and then he kinda ghosted again, and this last time he asked for a meeting, and I literally ... this is what I did, I went to my assistant, and I said, "Allie, I need you to send an email, I need you to write up the sweetest email you possibly can."

And this is what it said. Bottom line is, "Hey, I met you the first time, you ghosted. Met you the second time, you ghosted. Like, I'm ... unless you do A, B, C, and D, we're not really interested in you in this role anymore."

Thomas Lane:               Sure.

Chantel Ray:                 And then, instead of me having to take the time to have that in a meeting, that was an email conversation that I totally could have. I spent all of 30 seconds to Allie saying, from my email, write this and send it to him, please.

And that ... how much time that saved me, another 45 minutes.

Thomas Lane:               Absolutely.

Chantel Ray:                 And there's just no reason for it. And I think a lot of times, people are also so big on we have to do face to face, we have to do face to face. What are some tips, because for me, one of the things I do is a lot of times when someone's like, I kinda feel like I need to meet with them, but I might do a five minute phone call. So you know what I'd like to do is a five minute phone call. And then literally, not to be mean, you'll hear my secrets, but they'll might be talking, but I'm not sending an email or kind of multi tasking while they're talking to me about something.

Thomas Lane:               I love talking about this.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah.

Thomas Lane:               I always ask people ... if someone requests a meeting, I always ask what's the nature of it. I will not meet with someone. I will not have a conversation unless they tell me the subject matter. Because most of it can be done in five minutes over the phone. I had a guy last week email, saying, "Hey, can we meet?" And I just politely, either me or my assistant, will say, with all due respect, what's the nature of the meeting? And we'll ... I'm not trying to be selfish. The reality is -

Chantel Ray:                 You only have so many hours in a week.

Thomas Lane:               Absolutely. I have to protect my family. I gotta protect my organization. I gotta protect my sanity. So you know, if it's a crisis, someone needs to jump on it now. That's me or someone on the team. If it's ... hey I don't really ... maybe we can change up the songs ... what? Excuse me?

So a very nice dude said I'd love to meet, and I said, "Can we talk about it?" He wanted to offer his house as a back up space to do band rehearsal. I said -

Chantel Ray:                 Five minute phone call.

Thomas Lane:               We did it over email. I said, thanks, man, we actually have two backups, we're good. He said, oh, cool. But he meant well, so I don't want people to feel like I'm too busy for you.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah.

Thomas Lane:               But when people say it's about this, you usually take an hour to five minutes. And for me, it's more than an hour. It's driving there, you get coffee, you take an hour and a half down to five minutes. I've been amazed. When I started, I took every meeting. Someone wanted to meet, what's going on, what can I do. We just don't have the time.

Chantel Ray:                 No. And this is one of the nice ... I have an email that I already have drafted.

Thomas Lane:               Nice.

Chantel Ray:                 Because you know, if you get these requests over and over and over, we have emails that we have already drafted so we don't have to repeat them again. And one of the emails is really funny, because that's one of our core missions is just to be really funny and do things in humor. But we say, I literally say, "If I literally took a meeting with every person that wanted to meet with me during the week, I wouldn't be able to do anything else, but just do meeting." Right?

Thomas Lane:               Oh, absolutely.

Chantel Ray:                 So, obviously, and then I say, "LOL." So why don't you just shoot me an email about whatever it's about, and if I'm interested I can let you know? And then I can literally glance through it, look at the email and then move forward, or if I think I am ... I might be interested, I say, "We only have a five minute schedule."

Heather:                       You have to set that expectation.

Chantel Ray:                 Up front.

Thomas Lane:               You've gotta have an end to it too, so it's not an open ended.

Heather:                       So they don't think, well that was rude, I thought I was gonna be in there for an hour and she only talked to me for five minutes. No, you let them know, I have five minutes, stop by, and let's go. Yeah.

Chantel Ray:                 Is there anything else that you can think of that you've had to say no to? That you've said, this is really kind of helped me. I used to say yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I finally now just said, you know what? No. This is not something that I can put in my schedule and it's freed my time up.

Thomas Lane:               I did, I think, 14 weddings last year. So I'm the only ordained staff member currently. So they all fall to me. I did, I think, 14 weddings and two or three funerals. And that's -

Chantel Ray:                 So I'm gonna stop you right there. So you can get ordained in one week. So, literally, before you leave here, you need to go to every staff member and be like, by next week, I want every one of your ordained. So there you go, because that solves that problem right there.

Thomas Lane:               It's a rookie mistake. It was a total rookie move. Weddings. I said no to a wedding yesterday. It wasn't someone I knew, it was a friend of a friend. And I love to help, and it's a cool way. And if you're asking for a pastor to do a wedding, it means you don't have a church. So it's a cool way to love on somebody who doesn't have a church, and to be like, "We have a church, if you're interested." And if they don't ... if the couple doesn't have a church, most of their friends don't have a church either. So to be able to love on and interact with 100, 200 people who are all without a church is a really cool opportunity.

Because a lot of people say, "Oh, he's a younger dude, he seems fun, we've never been to church, maybe we should try it." It's a cool outreach opportunity. It's a cool way to serve them. Weddings are one of those things.

Chantel Ray:                 Drains you, though.

Thomas Lane:               Oh, kills you, because it's the whole weekend. Because you work. You know, I work Sunday to Thursday, what's Friday? Rehearsal. What's Saturday, wedding. What's Sunday morning? Church.

Heather:                       Church.

Thomas Lane:               So it really, it legit -

Chantel Ray:                 And you have to think of those things that really drain your bucket.

Thomas Lane:               Oh, it kills me. Counseling drains me. It's just not my gift. Most people ... I know some guys who are great counselors, but preaching they're a little bit awkward at. I'm the opposite. I love ... I could talk to hundreds all day, but one on one, it literally sucks the life out of me.

So saying no to that. I say yes to the gym. That's something I put on my calendar. I'm at the gym this hour, this hour. And my team can see it and they know about it and they respect it. But yeah, saying no to a lot of stuff. What's great about a church plant or owning your own business, is you really set the culture. And you can say things like, we don't do this. You know what I mean?

And if I came into a church that was 50 years old, and I took over and everyone said, "Well, the old pastor used to always do this," that creates ... that's one of the reasons we wanted to plant was so we could ... so we don't have to deal with that. So we can say, this is what God's calling us to do. How can we do it? How can we set ourselves up to do this mission? And not deal with all these expectations. But really having the staff on board, to say he doesn't work here, he doesn't do meetings at night. He's with his family. He's at the gym now, we're not gonna bother him at the gym. That's super helpful. They shield me from a lot. Which allows me to focus on other things, and I'm super thankful for that. But it comes down to, they have to think like I think. They have to get me and help me be better so I can help them be better.

It's a win across the board.

Heather:                       Yeah. Sometimes you have to say no to people within your own organization.

Thomas Lane:               Totally.

Heather:                       And so, sometimes you have people that ... especially as when you're leading larger groups of people, you have lots of people you have to meet with. And so like she said, sometimes, certain people that you work with drain you.

Thomas Lane:               Sure.

Heather:                       And sometimes you have to say no to meeting with them. Like, no actually this person's gonna be better at leading you, so now, I'm not gonna meet with you anymore. This person's gonna meet with you because it's not good for me, and it's not good for you.

Thomas Lane:               Yeah. It's a win across the board.

Heather:                       And so, which is a weird one. You're like, weird, I can't meet with you, but no, you have to put them in buckets where that person's gonna be able to fill their bucket, they fill each other's buckets and they're not draining each other's buckets. Because that happens within organizations as well.

Thomas Lane:               Oh, totally.

Chantel Ray:                 That's so good. We need to do a whole show on

[crosstalk 00:34:22] and what drains your bucket. Yeah, because one of the things I always say is that there are certain people that they literally have huge holes in their pitcher and you could keep pouring in, and it's just coming all out.

Thomas Lane:               All out. Right

Heather:                       Right. So you have to find the person that plugs those holes.

Thomas Lane:               Absolutely.

Heather:                       So that they can pour into them. Because everybody has somebody that they can pour into them. And everybody has somebody that drains them. And you have to just create those boundaries and say no to those things. And it's weird at first, but then, it actually in the end, it creates such a better relationship and growth opportunity.

Thomas Lane:               Yeah.

Chantel Ray:                 What I'd like to do right now is talk about any other follow up systems that you have in place to really hold your team accountable. Or if you don't have them in place now, hey this is an idea I just thought of. This is something, we talked about the teams, we talked about having an end of day report. Anything else that kind of goes, hey this is how I know that I'm not gonna stay frustrated. Because that is a terrible place to be when you're constantly like, they didn't do this, they didn't do this, they didn't do this. And one day, you just snap.

Thomas Lane:               Absolutely.

Chantel Ray:                 You snap. Because you're like, I am getting so frustrated. I told you to do this, and why aren't you doing it?

Heather:                       Right. I think checklists. Anytime something frustrates us, we create a checklist for it. And we make it so when they submit it, you get an email and you're like, that was done. That was done. Because then you don't have to ask about it anymore. And they're not ... most of the time, people aren't doing it because they don't remember, and so you're taking the frustration out of them, because they  know, they just go down, check, check, check, check. And then your frustration is gone because you got automatically told when it was happening.

Thomas Lane:               Boom. Is that an app you use? Is that a certain ... how do you ... what is the checklist on?

Heather:                       So we build everything on our website.

Thomas Lane:               Cool.

Heather:                       But WordPress, so it's really simple. Yeah. So you can just -

Chantel Ray:                 There's so many apps that have the checklists that you can automatically go okay here's what we're gonna do, and these are things you're gonna do every week. One thing that I did with one of my assistants at home, because we pay them weekly, and they have a checklist. It's so detailed, their checklist, you wouldn't even believe how detailed it is.

Heather:                       I've seen it.

Chantel Ray:                 It's extraordinary detail. So if you say you don't know what winning looks like after reading that, then it's like, okay. But inevitably, one of the things on the checklist, I'm just gonna embarrass myself right now, but this is how detailed this is. So I like to put on my lip liner in the car and when I'm out and about. Well, I don't like to sharpen my lip liner pencils.

Heather:                       No shame in her game.

Thomas Lane:               That's right. That's great.

Chantel Ray:                 So on there, it says, "Go into the purse, pull out four liners and sharpen them." Every day, I like a very sharp eye liner and I like a very sharp lip liner. And, let me tell you how frugal I am. People don't think I'm frugal. But I am. I feel like God -

Heather:                       I'm telling this story. She literally hands me three lip liners last week, and she's like ... they're literally this big ... the cap is the same size as the lip liner.

Chantel Ray:                 So I couldn't get the cap off.

Heather:                       She's like, can you please see if you can get these out for me, because I don't ... I need to use the rest of this lip liner, and I was like, "This is gonna take me more time to dig this lip liner out, than to just go to the store and just buy one for you." But yes, lip gloss, she's like, digging ... yesterday we're at lunch and she's like, I got the last little drops here."

Thomas Lane:               I do the same thing. Yeah, it drives my wife crazy.

Chantel Ray:                 I don't like to be wasteful. So now you got me all off track. [crosstalk 00:38:00]

So anyways, she's gotta do these lip liners. Well, inevitably, I go in the car, right? I'm putting on my lip liner, and there ... it's to the nugget. You know what I'm talking about? You don't know what I'm talking about. You know what I'm talking about.

Thomas Lane:               I think I do.

Chantel Ray:                 And I can't even put it on because it's like a pencil. You can't write with it. And I'm like ... like I don't know why, but it infuriates me, because I'm like, it's on the checklist. Every single day it's so spelled out. And I've reminded you 100 times.

Thomas Lane:               We don't have that. I need that. My challenge is we've grown so fast so quickly, almost every ... definitely every ...

Chantel Ray:                 The checklist changes.

Thomas Lane:               It's a constant ... like our creative team, I think our guy added eight people, ten people to the creative team this month. Maybe these last two weeks. It's just constantly ... so leading a team of two is very different ... if your marketing team is two people. And then in a month it's 10. So that's my thing. I need to be a little more aggressive on keeping it updated. Because obviously, the way you lead two people is completely different than the way you lead ten.

Chantel Ray:                 Yes.

Thomas Lane:               So for me, it's not, I can't set it and forget it. I need to constantly look at the ... first of all I don't have a checklist. It's a verbal checklist. But a verbal checklist -

Chantel Ray:                 That's gotta be fixed right away.

Thomas Lane:               Yeah. But it needs to be updated.

Chantel Ray:                 But you can get them to do it.

Thomas Lane:               Sure. Yeah. That's a good idea.

Chantel Ray:                 So you start with it, you give me the platform, let's meet about it, and now I'll tweak it. So one of the things I did with her, which I sat down with her and I'm saying this. Listen, I really appreciate you, and you're doing a great job at A, B, C and D. However, these are some things that aren't getting done each week, and I don't wanna keep reminding you. So here's what we're gonna do. You're gonna check them off, and every week, you're gonna make the choice of whether you're gonna make $12 an hour, or you're gonna make $13 an hour, because if you miss anything on the checklist, you're gonna make $12 an hour. If you don't, you're gonna make $13 an hour. Or, you're gonna say, "Hey, at the end of the week, if you get everything done, you're gonna get a $10 bonus, and if you don't, you're gonna miss that bonus."

And here's the thing, if week after week, you're not making the bonus, then we have to look at each other and go, are you the right fit?

Heather:                       Sure. Sure.

Chantel Ray:                 Because I need people in my life that I don't have to constantly remind, and here comes the Kendra story again.

Heather:                       With a little stick, it's like, and it's Kendra.

Thomas Lane:               You gotta get Kendra in here.

Chantel Ray:                 Alright. Well, we're wrapping up, but we wanna tell you that we have a little bonus for you, we are gonna do a hard conversation that Thomas Lane and Heather are going to talk about and we're gonna show how to make these commitments, but this is in a bonus episode.

Thomas Lane:               Yes.

Chantel Ray:                 Alright, we will see you guys next time. Thank you guys.


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