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Thoughts on Transition: Setting New Goals in a New Place


Set goals, meet those goals, celebrate the meeting of those goals, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. I’ve served and led in enough places to know the formula, but the formula is turned on its head when you’re new. There is another step after listening really well, and that step is to help take those you’re listening to to a new place.  Now here’s the inherent problem with taking the people you lead into new levels of leadership.

How do you take someone to new place, when you’re not yet certain of your own place?

I’m still working on my answer to that question, but I’m going to say that the word “slow” is in that answer somewhere. In my quest to answer that question, here’s my current gameplan for setting new goals in a new place, and helping others find their place while also wrestling to find my own place.  I’m tracking with three areas of tasks, and I’ve included three tasks with each to illustrate the differences between all three areas:

First, I’m tracking with easy, small and attainable things that maybe I’m seeing with fresh eyes as the new guy. There is not much potential for conflict here, as it’s easy as easy can get.

  • Could we fix that door?
  • Is there a misspelling on a popular send home material?
  • Are new volunteers background checked?

Second, I’m tracking things I’d like to talk about 6-8 months from now. These things carry a potential for conflict, but I’m not waiting so long to avoid the conflict. I’m waiting, because over time those things could change as I learn more and more about my own place in the organization.

  • Why do we have that door there? Could the door be moved?
  • The send home package needs a new marketing strategy. What does that look like?
  • Are new volunteers serving in the right place? How do we help them find that place?

Third, I’m tracking things related to myself, and nobody else. These are the things that help make my own job description come alive. These things are helping me determine why this new place would bring me here. It’s my effort to think Big-Picture.

  • What are the most important issues I’ve been brought in to fix? (If any…)
  • What are the areas I need to champion and celebrate better?
  • Who are the leaders I need to invest the most one-on-one time with?

It’s been my hope and prayer that this ever-growing list of “things” that I’m creating will prove fruitful at keeping myself busy, but more importantly; I’m demanding that this list help me with setting new goals for my new team and myself. I consider this my foundation to setting goals in a new place, it is my cornerstone for leading tomorrows tomorrow.

“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” Abraham Lincoln

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.