Bridging the Gap Between Church Comms and Senior Leadership | Holly Tate

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Holly Tate, SVP at Leadr, shares with us effective steps to build better connections between your Church Comms team and Senior Leadership

Podcast Transcription


Jason Hamrock: [00:00:30] Well, Holly, welcome to the show. How are you?

Holly Tate: [00:00:34] I am good. Yes. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Jason Hamrock: [00:00:38] Oh, so excited to have you here. As we’re doing this right now, we’re a few days out from Easter and so we’re so excited about what that’s going to do for churches around the country. Man, we’ll just be praying that churches are blessed by tons of people coming to hear the Gospel maybe for the first time. So just want to give that little shout-out there that we’re excited about that. So excited to have you on the show because today we’re going to talk about a topic that everybody who works in a church has to deal with, and it’s the topic of leadership, and talking about how do you have conversations.

Jason Hamrock: [00:01:13] So before we dive into that, though, I’d love to have our audience, just if they don’t know who you are, just give us some background because you’ve been doing this for a long time, what we’re going to be talking about. So give us just a little bit of your backstory and what you’ve been up to.

Holly Tate: [00:01:26] Yeah, well, and also to your point about Easter, let’s just, you know, give a bigger shout-out to all the church comm’s people, because we know that they’re the hard work behind the scenes of all of the graphics and signage and print outs and and and, and so I hope that you’re getting lots of rest post-Easter as you’re listening to this. But yeah. Jason, so currently my role is Senior Vice President of Growth at a company called Leader. We are a people development software that helps churches really develop their people, so engage and grow every person on their team. Essentially what we set out to do is go, okay, how can we care for our staff as well as we’re caring for our congregation?

Holly Tate: [00:02:09] And so I’ve been on that team for a little over two years now, but prior to that, I was VP of Marketing and Business Development at a company called Vanderbloemen, which helps churches build great teams through executive search and staffing, and so it was on the team there for almost nine years. And then before that that I worked for a Christian Radio Network, at a company called Salem Communications, I sold radio advertising before I joined the Vanderbloemen team. So I’ve been working adjacent to churches for, oh goodness, what is that, 12 years now, 12 to 13 years. And specifically in trying to help solve the leadership development issue for a little over ten of those years.

Jason Hamrock: [00:02:57] Okay. So that’s what I want to tap into because you have a lot of experience in leadership development. And right now the people listening in our audience, you know, our audience consists of communication directors and certainly, other staff people inside of a church, but for the most part com directors. But so let’s talk a little bit about that, because Bart, you were saying earlier before we hit the record button that sometimes, you know if you’re in the ministry side, you’re kind of expected to build a team, it’s just what you do, right? But when you’re on the com side, or maybe the support side, you don’t always focus on building a team. But I’d like to talk a little bit about the leadership structure. How do com directors work with senior leadership in trying to get their message across? Or what are the things that you have seen, or certainly the pain points that you’ve helped address when it comes to working with leadership?

Holly Tate: [00:03:53] Yeah, absolutely. Well, it really depends on the church and often depends on how the senior pastor is wired. So if you have a senior pastor who, and this is usually the case, not always the case, but usually who is full of ideas, who is a content machine, very strong in, you know, content development from sermons to podcasts to writing. Often the church comms person is kind of the, you know, I don’t know if you’re watching this, or if you’re listening to it, if you’re watching to it, I’m kind of like running around with a bucket in my hands, like just trying to catch it all and make sense of it all and, you know, really package it in a way that makes sense to move the mission of the church forward.

Holly Tate: [00:04:35] But if you’re in a setting where maybe the senior pastor is more operationally focused, or maybe you follow more of a liturgical setting where that content calendar is, you know, already mapped out. Your role might be more in that, you know, branding and growth area. How do we bring more people in the door? So I think those are usually the two different kind of categories that I see church comms people focus on. One is more of that content development side where the pastor has more of a platform or the church has more of a platform, and it’s more about content packaging and distribution. And then on the other hand, it’s more of a traditional marketing approach where it’s, you know, how do we really expand and get the word out to bring more people in our doors and then further engage them in their, you know, discipleship journey? Now, most of the time the church comms person is expected to wear all of those hats. But in my experience, those are kind of the two different categories where the focus points are depending on where that church or that senior pastor falls.

Jason Hamrock: [00:05:38] You know, it is interesting, you’ve got to really tune into your senior leader and know how they’re wired. And ask questions, I’m always recommending that you just got to learn what do they want. Because you’re there to do a job, but you’re there to also serve them. And certainly, I know that I have run across senior leaders who are older than me and have had my challenges. What kind of challenges have you had in your career in working with more, you know, I guess we’ll call them older, older…

Holly Tate: [00:06:13] Wiser.

Jason Hamrock: [00:06:15] Wiser leaders, you know, how have you navigated those? that’s a great question.

Holly Tate: [00:06:20] That’s a great question. Yeah, I’ve usually been in my career so far, I’ve, well, not anymore. I feel like I had a realization about a year and a half ago where I was like, I need to stop saying that I’m usually the youngest in the room because that is not the truth anymore. But so far in my career, up until about a year and a half ago, I realized that I was typically one of the youngest in the room. And so when you’re especially in church communication, your sphere of influence is so big. And so this is what I really want church comms, if you don’t take anything away from this conversation besides this, like, it’s that your sphere of influence as a church communicator is way bigger than you think. And influence doesn’t have anything to do with the title, it doesn’t have anything to do with how many direct reports you have, it really has to do with your responsibility.

Holly Tate: [00:07:06] And as a church marketer or a church communicator, your responsibility is to move the mission forward in all of the different content or marketing areas. So from website to social media to, you know, signage, to sometimes even just the whole experience from the time that the person pulls in the parking lot to when they pull away in the parking lot, what is that experience? Often it’s the church communications person who is thinking about that. So when we think about, oh, well, I’m just over here, or I’m just a one-person team, or I don’t have any direct reports. Really, what I want to encourage and challenge you in is to really think about that sphere of influence which is into your whole community. Your sphere of influence as a church marketer or church communicator really impacts the entire community that you are working to reach with the gospel within your church. And so that means that you have to work with multi-generational people. That means, you know, people who are very different from you, people who have a different experience from you.

Holly Tate: [00:08:08] And so what I would encourage, regardless of what your age is, as you’re working with multi-generational teams, one is to always stay curious. So I think when we come in with like a, this is the right way to do it, that often puts people on their heels no matter what age we are. And but when we come with, hey, I’ve got this idea and I wanted to get your take on it, what do you think If we did X, Y, Z? That is often a really great way to help bring people along in the journey. And then not only do we learn things because we just don’t know what we don’t know, but we learn things along the way, but we also allow that person to have input. And then when people have input that furthers their buy-in. And so that would be my biggest piece of advice is, when we’re working with multi-generational teams, is to stay curious, and really bring people along on the journey as you’re bringing up new ideas or different solutions that will help you immensely along the way to make those relational deposits before you have to make some of those withdrawals and make those changes that can sometimes be a lot for people.

Jason Hamrock: [00:09:14] Yeah, and I think if you’re out of sync with your senior leader, that’s a great way to, you got to work hard to get in sync with that senior leader, right? Because it’s not their job to get in sync with you, maybe it is a little bit, but we won’t go there. You control what you can control right? So that’s a really great idea to help get in sync with that senior leader and to, you know, make some recommendations and ask those questions and start that dialog, because that’s the only way you’re going to move closer, right?

Holly Tate: [00:09:45] Yeah, and Jason, that’s a great point because most of the time where I feel like church comms people often get the most frustrated is when they’re working for a senior leader who’s constantly coming up with new ideas or changing things. But the best way to get ahead of that is to beat them to the punch. And so when you are proactively bringing ideas, or you’re looking at data and finding solutions and bringing solutions for how you should shift or change or try new things, you’re going to get ahead of that senior leader. Because if you’re feeling like they’re constantly bringing you ideas, there’s a communication gap there. Maybe they don’t have the visibility into all of the things that you’re doing. Or maybe they haven’t been shown the results that all of your great work has done. And so feel like that’s often where the resentment can come in, is if it’s like I’m doing all of these things and you don’t see me and you’re just continually dumping things on my plate. But we can lead up, that’s that phrase of leading up to our senior leaders, especially if they’re very ideas or creatively oriented. When we bring them those ideas or solutions, we get ahead of them, that just helps them take a deep breath and go, okay, somebody else is thinking about this more than me, which is really what typically, in my experience, what they want to see.

Jason Hamrock: [00:11:03] Yeah, and I’ll tell you, a being the guy that was the one working, you know, serving up. Now I’m kind of the other way, I’m an old guy, so I’m on the other side.

Holly Tate: [00:11:13] Wise, Jason it’s wise.

Jason Hamrock: [00:11:18] Wise. Thank you.

Bart Blair: [00:11:19] He’s well-oiled, we’ll say that.

Jason Hamrock: [00:11:22] Leave it to Bart, he’ll have another word for it. But when I look at that, just for all of you who are younger than me, who are serving and leading up, I’ll tell you, I don’t always know what my team is doing. We’ve got a big team, so when they’re sharing stuff with me, I am so encouraged. You know, otherwise, I have no idea. How am I supposed to know all the things that people are working on unless they bring it to my attention? I might stumble across it but don’t make me have to just coincidentally stumble across it, bring it to me because now we can celebrate together and that gives me a lot more confidence and trust in what you’re doing. So just a word of advice on that side of it. Bart.

Bart Blair: [00:12:02] Yeah. Jason, you actually derailed my train of thought there for a second with something you said. And I’m going to compound on that, and then I’m gonna ask Holly another question. The reality is, I think in a lot of churches, and the larger the church, I think the more common this scenario is, and that is the communications director often is the recipient of a lot of the workload or what have you, that the creative senior pastor or senior leadership team is moving down the pipeline. But they are often several layers of relationship removed from that leader and so they don’t always even have the opportunity to have those types of conversations. Because you know in a lot of churches I know the senior pastor is giving the direction, but the communications director reports directly to the creative pastor or to the executive pastor, and so they don’t always even have that line of communication so that they can speak back to those things. Holly, I want you to process that in the context of what you just said, but also the opposite scenario of what you just shared is frustration on the part of comms directors who they themselves have ideas about how they as a church can be more effective, but they can’t get the buy-in of their senior leaders because their senior leaders are less creative or are breaks guys versus gas guys, right? They’re always like, well, let’s hold on. Let’s look at, you know, they’re tight on the budget, they’re tight on risk, and they don’t want to explore new and different ideas. Going back to this concept of leading up and having those sometimes maybe hard conversations, or at least direct conversations, you know, how do you get real practical coaching someone in that comms director seat to navigate those types of relationships and those types of conversations with their senior leadership team?

Holly Tate: [00:13:57] Yeah, so great question. One, I would say, just because you don’t have the in-person ability to talk to your senior leader as much as you would like to, we have so many ways that we can communicate. So I would encourage you to send maybe a, it depends on how fast your organization moves, but what would it look like to send a weekly update to that senior leader or your leader, creative director, or executive pastor, and copy the senior leader or the senior pastor, right? And just update them on all of the things that you worked on that week, what’s working, what’s not, and what results are you seeing, what are you hearing? And even if they never respond, you’ve taken the step to proactively communicate. Because I think a misconception is, Jason, you touched on this, like especially frontline employees think that the senior leader knows everything because you’re supposed to know everything, right? Like, that’s the mentality, especially for those who have never been in leadership before. But what we know, you know, I’m on our executive team here and I know that I’m constantly trying to keep up with what’s happening on the frontlines of my team. Because our visibility, it gets cloudier and cloudier, the higher up on the org chart we are. And so to really help, we can help empower our senior leaders by moving that communication upline by sending a weekly email or maybe it’s a video update. You know, there are so many great tools out there, free tools to make a little video and send it to the team. Or in a Slack channel, whatever that might look like, but take that initiative. Don’t wait for it to be asked of you, proactively give that information.

Holly Tate: [00:15:31] Which kind of goes to my next point. And, you know, Bart, I’m a little bit, I don’t know, I don’t want to get anybody in trouble, but I’m like, just try it. Like, you know, ask for forgiveness later, like if it doesn’t cost money, which there are very…I feel like, yes, ads cost money, billboards cost money, you know, printing things cost money, but there are so many things that are in the creative and marketing world that don’t cost money. Like starting a podcast or, you know, or very minimal money, right? Like maybe it costs you $10, you know, a month to host it somewhere. Or doing a video series and posting it on social media. So just to go ahead and lead with that, don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness. And that is really where I think that a lot of successful marketers or communicators, it’s because they’re just constantly trying things and don’t wait on permission to do so. So obviously if budgets involved a different story, but yeah, just get involved and just go ahead and try things.

Bart Blair: [00:16:35] Don’t surprise, don’t surprise your senior pastor with a billboard on the side of the highway when he’s driving to the office next time, that would be not a good idea. Well, you know, if any of you do take Holly’s advice here and you end up needing employment, she’s got some connections at Vanderbloemen. She’s got some connections at Vanderbloemen, and we can get you in a search process and hopefully find you another role somewhere else. Sorry, that all comes on Holly.

Bart Blair: [00:17:00] Holly, I love that, I love that very practical advice that you’re giving. And I have done that myself in times and places where I have just said, I have an instinct, I have a gut instinct that doing this this way is going to be better than the way we’ve been doing it, and the chain of command is is so complex to get permission or to run it by all the powers that be to do it, and I’ve just done it. And you know, I’ve got to have a lot of confidence and conviction to be able to do it. And then I’ve also got to be able to, you know, stand in front of the room and explain why it bombed, if it bombed, right? So you’ve got to be ready to have both conversations. You know, let’s all celebrate that we did something that gave us a victory or, hey, we did something and it flopped. You got to know the culture of your church and you’ve got to know and understand the culture of your leadership team to know, you know, what kind of risks to take in those places, be smart about it, pray through it, and call Holly if you get in trouble.

Holly Tate: [00:18:05] Yeah, well, here’s some language to use. So if you follow my advice and it doesn’t work, I always say we don’t win or we lose, we win or we learn. And so if you’re constantly leading with the spirit of curiosity and learning, and in that weekly update, it’s here’s what I learned this week, then they won’t be surprised when you stand up and go, okay, guys, you know, there’s one of those other crazy ideas. I thought that this podcast was going to work, it didn’t, and here’s what I learned, and so now I’m going to do this instead, right? When we lead with that spirit for ourselves, not only does it give us so much more freedom to take risks and try new things because we’re not losing, we’re just learning. But it also helps us again lead up and show our leaders that we’re just trying to learn all the time of what works and what’s going to move our mission forward.

Jason Hamrock: [00:18:47] Well, in it’s failing forward, right? So I love it as a leader that when my team is trying things and even if it falls flat, I’m like, I celebrate that, way to go. You know, instead of just being neutral, you tried something and, hey, let’s try one more time, right? Because eventually, we’re going to get it right. Another question for you, and there are those situations where comm directors or anybody that’s on the comms team gets to work with volunteers. And I just used this today, I had a call with the church that they were asking us about, you know, doing things. In fact, she said, I’ve tried to get my senior leaders to blog because they said we want to protect what’s on our website. So I said, okay, blog, and they say, we don’t have time.

Holly Tate: [00:19:39] Yep.

Jason Hamrock: [00:19:40] I’m going, okay, it’s a catch-22. They want to control the messaging, yet they won’t give you any words to control the messaging. So my advice to her was why not grab the sermon, transcribe it, and then go find a volunteer who is passionate about writing in your church and just give them some direction? So my question to you is how, if you’re not really much of a leader, but you, you know, you’re in the spot, how do you lead other volunteers that are more they’re on the same level? You’re actually probably leading them, so you might be above them. But any advice on how you lead somebody who’s a volunteer?

Holly Tate: [00:20:19] Well, I think there are some specific challenges about leading volunteers, specifically in the church comms or marketing space, and that is that it’s really difficult to teach. Well, actually, let me rephrase that, it’s difficult to catch a brand voice if it hasn’t been clearly articulated. Whereas, like, a children’s volunteer doesn’t need to understand how to write in the voice of a brand or a person, they just need to make sure that the kid is safe, right? So there are some nuances that go into being a volunteer on the church comms side. And so what I would say for every church comms person, make sure that you’ve got a really strong playbook.

Holly Tate: [00:21:02] So, for example, do you have those brand guidelines that are easy and simple and that you can hand anyone at any time and they will understand, these are our brand guidelines. Do you have your brand voice, you know, written down and articulated? Do you have your values written down and articulated? Your logos are in a spot where it’s easy for people to grab so you’re not seeing 20 different versions of it all over the place, Right? So when we can create that communication playbook, then we’re able to teach. That’s when we go from that culture of cot to tot, and then you can replicate yourself across so many different volunteers. So then you can find that person that’s passionate about copywriting or ghostwriting, or find that person that loves editing videos or loves, you know, Instagram and making Reels. Thank goodness for those people because that’s not me. But like to be able to then, you know, replicate yourself so that you can do what only you can do. You can focus on strategy, but you’re able to disseminate that playbook to your volunteers, and that will help you just save a lot of time and heartache.

Holly Tate: [00:22:09] And also, another thing that’s unique about church volunteers that you don’t have to, you don’t run into in other departments is kind of that personal, creative, giving feedback, right? So like if someone writes something, and it’s really bad, it can be uncomfortable to say, thank you so much volunteer for spending 20 hours on this piece of content and we’re not going to use it, right? But maybe we didn’t give them the right direction, and so when we have a clear playbook that says this is exactly what we’re looking for, this is how many words this, you know, whatever it might be, then we’re holding them accountable to that playbook and it’s not personal. Right? So those are a couple of tips I think, that are specifically geared towards what it looks like to lead volunteers in a comms or a marketing setting that’s different from any other department.

Jason Hamrock: [00:23:01] Yeah, that’s so good. And if you can do that, hold on just a second, Bart, if you can do that, I tell you, your stock goes way high because you’ve proved that you can lead people and not just take it on yourself. Because if you just want to take it on yourself, you know, we can’t grow you as a leader. But if you show that you can do that, as a senior leader, I highly value those people that can delegate and prove that they can lead a team with very little direction, like they just got it and they can do it themselves. I’m just telling you, if you can do that, your stock goes way up.

Holly Tate: [00:23:36] It’s true. Well, that’s true leadership, right? That’s from going from a doer to a leader, is that ability, it’s replicating yourself, it’s finding people that are better than you at doing certain things so that you can focus on what only you can do. And that’s the difference between the doer and the leader.

Bart Blair: [00:23:53] I was just going to add that actually probably the most comparable ministry to that in the church would be in the worship ministry, worship, and creative. Right? And we’re not talking about, you know, the large mega-church that has a professional band that they’re paying to be there every week. Because that’s a different type of leadership than being a normal-sized church where your worship band is volunteers, and you’re having to, you know, discern skill levels and commitment levels and then, you know, performance quality on the Sunday morning, right? Because it’s the same thing, hey, dude, when you play the guitar solo like that, it’s really out of bounds. We can’t do that, right? Or those harmonies that you’re singing, they just don’t work, we’re not going to be able to do it, right? And you’re dealing with, you tend to be dealing with more melancholy artist-type people when you’re on that creative side, which can also be the same case with the marketing communication side as well, people do tend to be a little bit more creative. And you know, that’s where most of my ministry background was, was in, you know, creative and worship. And I’ve had to have a lot of those hard conversations, and it is tough, it’s not impossible. But I think that you’re on to something there, Holly, hou know, I think it’s micro-steps in those places when you’re trying to replicate yourself. You know, if you’re a worship leader and you’re trying to develop another worship leader in the church, you don’t give them a whole Sunday morning the first time they lead worship, you give them a song to lead in your worship set.

Holly Tate: [00:25:21] Yeah.

Bart Blair: [00:25:22] And so you walk them into the opportunities at a level that’s appropriate for them. And the same thing is true, I think if you’re building a communications team, whether it’s, you know, photographers, copywriters, graphic designers, video editors, whatever it is, you know, you give them small pieces, you test them. You see if they can follow instructions, that they can deliver on time, if they can deliver what you like, and if they don’t, you coach them through it. I’m actually doing that with a church that I, through Missional Marketing, I oversee their communications, and they’ve just hired a new part-time person on their staff, and I’m beginning to train that person in the things we’re doing and they’re creating social media content. And every time they create that content, I review it and I coach them through what I would do differently, how I would change it, how I would make it sharper, but also at the same time compliment them on the things that they nailed. Right? You got this part right, you got it right here, but these are some things that you need to do to make just this a little bit better. Do you understand where I’m coming from? Sometimes it’s instinct, sometimes it’s something that can be taught, and you just have to kind of feel that out.

Holly Tate: [00:26:27] Yeah. Oh, no, absolutely. The difference between, I love that you’re using words like gut and instinct because that’s so important, especially for creative people, and for those that are not that, it’s hard for them to understand. But I don’t know if you are familiar with The Working Genius with Patrick Lencioni, but that has been such a helpful tool for me, and my team because mine are galvanizing and discernment. And it’s been really difficult in my career sometimes because I’ll know in my gut something, and then I have all my analytical teammates that are, like, well, I don’t know, the data is telling us this or whatever, and I’m like, I don’t care. Because like, I know that this is right and it’s hard for me to tell you, but like, I just need you to trust me on this, right? And so I’m constantly in conflict, I feel like, between like the logic and the gut. And when those align, that’s where, you know, something’s really right. But from a leadership perspective, to be able to discern, right, like when the gut versus the data or the analytics, and that’s, we need both, like we need teams that have all of those people. And to be able from a leadership perspective, to make sure that you’re celebrating both of those, that you’re listening to both of those, that you’re not biased towards one of those, that’s really where we see teams perform. But where you can have that friction is where you have people who don’t understand that about each other because they see the world so differently, which is beautiful and that needs to be celebrated rather than, you know, I don’t know, being just a point of tension or frustration.

Bart Blair: [00:28:03] Speaking Jason’s love language. As soon as you start talking about the six types of working genius, you know, he’s had our team work through them.

Jason Hamrock: [00:28:11] I love it, I love it. Okay so I just stay in the clouds all day and just dream and wonder and invent. And then I hand it off and then our team just looks at me and says, you just gave us 25 ideas, and like three of them are really good, but…

Holly Tate: [00:28:22] Right?

Jason Hamrock: [00:28:24] Yeah.

Bart Blair: [00:28:24] And that’s why you need the discerners on your team, right? I’m a discerner inventor, so I’m like, yeah. It’s fun to sit with Jason while he’s brainstorming, but at some point, you have to figure out which of these wonderful ideas that he has is actually actionable and workable. So yeah, I love that.

Jason Hamrock: [00:28:45] So that we’re talking about Patrick Lencioni’s The Six Working Geniuses, and it’s like 25 bucks and you can take the assessment. In fact, you should do it, you take your whole team through it if you have a big team. And even if you have some volunteers, if they’re kind of committed volunteers, pay the $25 to have them do it. I love it when the whole church staff does it because it just paints that picture of, oh, that’s where you’re coming from.

Holly Tate: [00:29:10] Yes, it is so helpful. Yeah.

Jason Hamrock: [00:29:14] Yeah. Very cool. How have you led your team through that? What are some takeaways that you’ve, now that you’ve learned about how your team is wired through their geniuses, what have you done with that?

Holly Tate: [00:29:27] Yeah. So actually a real practical example. So there was me and I had two direct reports, so I’m a discernment and galvanizer, my other direct report was galvanizer and wonder, there you go, Jason And then the other direct report was discernment and tenacity. And so my two direct reports were having a conversation about something that they disagreed on because the one with wonder and galvanizer had, you know, 15 different possibilities, which he’s so talented at. Like he is the best at seeing all of the possibilities. I mean, you want that on your team because there’s just, it’s relentless optimism, it’s just all of the different, you know, find a way mentality. But then my tenacity and discerner who has gut instinct and also is a boss at getting things done, they were having friction because they disagreed. And so what I did was I took their working geniuses, and what I realized was when you put them together, they had four of the working geniuses. And so there’s another really great, this is like getting super nerdy, but basically each of the geniuses, like when you are in a team, the geniuses are kind of in different areas of getting things done, right? So like your wonder is the person who is like what you said with Jason, like brainstorming and ideas, so that person, you want to bring them in at the beginning of problem-solving, you want them to just fill the whiteboard with all of the things. But then you need to bring that discerner along, you know, like Bart was talking about, to be able to go, okay, those are all really great ideas, but here are the three that we really believe are worth spending time on. And then you bring, and then his was galvanizer. So once those are decided, he is the best at rallying the team and it’s like he’s going to go and everybody is going to like run off a cliff behind him because he is just the best at, you know, getting everybody convinced that those are the best ideas. And then my other direct report was tenacity, so then she’s going to take it and get it to the finish line. And so when I showed them how if they actually work together and bring each other into the different phases of the project, that’s where the magic happens. And so that was like revolutionary for both of them, when they saw how they can complement each other rather than working against each other, that was the game changer. And so, yeah, I mean, when you’re able to map that out for the team, that’s why the tool is so helpful because it helps you work with each other rather than against each other.

Jason Hamrock: [00:32:01] And I got to tell you from a leadership standpoint, so I sit there and I dream all day long. I’ve got a guy on my team who he’s kind of in charge of the money.

Holly Tate: [00:32:09] Yeah, so he’s like, stop dreaming, Jason.

Jason Hamrock: [00:32:10] He’s freaking out. He’s literally sweating going, how are we going to pay for all this? I’m like, dude, I’m just, I’m over here creating ideas, I’m not saying we have to do any of them. He’s like…Once we realized that, it was like, oh, okay, I’ll stop worrying about how we’re going to pay for it all, just keep coming up with ideas.

Holly Tate: [00:32:28] And that is that’s key right there, Jason So you as the leader, and this is key for any church comm, to bring it back to church comms. It’s like number one for you to know yourself and know your senior leader whoever you’re working with really well so that when you’re working with somebody who has wonder who’s a senior leader, you can just sit back and just let them be who they are at their best. Let them do all of those ideas. I think sometimes people who are tenacity or enablement, they take it on as if now they have to go do all of those things. But on the flip side, it’s important for Jason or me or like I think about our CEO, he often will use this phrase, he says, this is a perspective, not a directive. So for us as the senior leader to say, I’m not saying you have to go do these 20 things, I am literally just throwing these out there for you to like mull over and process and we can pick them up next week. And that just gives both people freedom to really understand how to get to the next step and not be frustrated or stressed out with each other in the meantime. Yeah.

Bart Blair: [00:33:29] I love that, it takes a very self-aware leader to be able to present something like that. So I applaud that. That is pretty cool. Hey, Holly, we need to kind of probably start to shut this down and wrap up a little bit. This is.

Holly Tate: [00:33:42] This is Bart interrupting the wonder and the organizer.

Bart Blair: [00:33:46] Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I actually have a question I want to ask you, that’s not on our show notes. Okay?

Holly Tate: [00:33:54] And I’m ready.

Bart Blair: [00:33:55] And I’ve never asked this question of anybody else on the podcast before, but I think I think you’ll be game for this because I think this might be right up your alley. And I’m just going to say, I stole this question from another podcast and I can’t remember what it is, but ever since I heard it asked on another podcast, I’m like, I want to ask one of our podcast guests this question, so I’m going to ask you. Okay? And if it totally fails here, we will edit this out and won’t even play this part of the podcast. But I’m sure that you get this.

Holly Tate: [00:34:20] We don’t fail, we learn, right?

Bart Blair: [00:34:23] Right! Okay. Here we go. Okay, here’s the question I want to ask you. Would you tell us what your first job was, or the worst job that you’ve ever had that has given you one of the most significant leadership lessons that you’ve ever had as you reflect on it now?

Holly Tate: [00:34:38] Oh, my gosh, I love this question. Yes, I think I can answer both of those. So the first job that I had was selling Thomas the Train Engine. Do you guys remember Thomas? I mean, I think he’s still around, but yeah. So I worked at a little kids’ store in the mall across from the Auntie Anne’s Pretzel place, and they sold Thomas the Train Engines. And so that was my very, I think I was I couldn’t even drive by myself yet, I had my permit, but my parents had to drive with me, you know, So I think I was like 14. And here’s what’s interesting, I’m going to answer your question. So the owner of that business, she went to the church that I grew up in, I was so grateful for her. I mean, I wasn’t looking for a job, I was like 14. But she approached me and was like, hey, you know, would you be interested in working a couple of nights a week at our store at the mall? Like, sure. She was the most phenomenal, like, business in the traditional fashion of she had a banking background, she was amazing at like the finances part of things, was just a really smart person when it came to like the finances and nuts and bolts of the business. Well, about two years in, she ended up having to shut down the business because she just couldn’t get the traffic. It was kind of at the time when the malls were starting to die, but she didn’t do any advertising, no marketing. So this woman comes in to buy a lot of her inventory and she’s like, you know, hey, what are you doing after this? I’m like, well, I don’t know, I didn’t even ask for this job.

Holly Tate: [00:36:11] Now, I was, you know, 16 at the time. And she’s like, well, I actually own a store similar to this, would you like to come to work for me? And it turns out it was literally like 0.4 miles from my house that I grew up in. So I go work for her, and it was the polar opposite. She basically started the business because she wanted a break on the inventory because her son was obsessed with Thomas the Train Engine. And so from a business perspective, it was a mess. Like the inventory was all over the place, the books, I don’t even want to know, but like, I mean, it was like a disaster. But she was a brilliant marketing mind. So what she figured out was if she did birthday parties, that would bring traffic in. So we would host birthday parties on the weekends, and then all these families would get exposed to the store, so then she would generate sales that way. And so I remember like age 17 having this moment where I’m going, this is like the same business model, but I have two very different talented women who have founded these companies, and both of them are struggling because they haven’t learned their weaknesses and complemented their weaknesses by, you know, other people, or systems, or processes, etcetera. And so that’s really what inspired me to get a business degree, was because I didn’t want to be that person that’s not self-aware enough to know what my weaknesses are and how to, you know, how to overcome them in business. And so, yeah, I think the worst part was cleaning up after little kids’ birthday parties for Thomas the Train, and you have blue icing all over your hands and it smells like Lysol. You know, your clothes smell like Lysol, that was the worst part of it. But it was a phenomenal learning experience, and I’m so thankful for both. It was Kim and Lynn, and I’m just so, so grateful for them because I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not had that experience in high school with their two little, you know, one-woman shops.

Jason Hamrock: [00:38:12] Wow, that’s awesome.

Bart Blair: [00:38:13] Well, yeah, thank you for letting me ask you that question. You hit a home run, that was good, I will not edit that out, that was really worth the price of admission right there. Hey, Holly, if people are interested in connecting with you, learning more about Leader and the stuff that you’re doing, and even just other, you’ve got your own website, and some other consulting and things that you do, share a little bit about how they can connect with you and what that would look like.

Holly Tate: [00:38:36] Totally. So on social media, like on Instagram, I’m Holly Hall Tate, and then my email is Holly…well, you kind of find me all over the place. is my website, so And then Leader is, we always joke that we can’t spell, but Leader without the last E so, and you can go there and connect with our team. But yeah, feel free to reach out, we’d love to continue the conversation. And you know, if there are any Thomas the Train fans out there, we can talk about that too.

Bart Blair: [00:39:10] Jason doesn’t even know what to do with that. Thanks so much, Holly. We appreciate you.

Holly Tate: [00:39:14] You’re welcome. Thanks, everybody.

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