The 5Ws Leadership Communication Tool: Worship, Wins, Walls, Wants and Warts.


My sabbatical month in Europe was excellent.  I may post something on that soon, but I thought this might be of interest to us all as we transition back from summer vacations into the activities and meetings of autumn. For this post, I want to publish a leadership communication tool that we used in-house, at High Park Baptist Church (HPBC), called the “5Ws“.

The 5Ws of reporting are traditionally known as who, what, when, where and why. Those are super-important Ws to consider  in reporting the facts of a story, but they are not what the ones I have in mind. We used a different 5Ws to improve our leadership communication at HPBC: worship, wins, walls, wants and warts. I want to publish these 5Ws as a tribute to all the present and past members of the HPBC Ministry Leadership Council (MLC) and the strategic plan we agreed to accomplish together.  Dear MLC, I think we got some meaningful things done towards the church ratified mandate and this tool helped us talk it through together towards a higher impact!

The story of the 5Ws goes like this.  As part of our strategic plan implementation at HPBC, we established the Ministry Leadership Council (MLC).  The MLC is like a church parliament composed of church department leaders.  I wanted this group to become a Higher Impact Team (HIT) at HPBC to operationalize the goals of our strategic plan through their task forces.  Each servant-leader on the MLC was a directly responsible individual (DRI) for reporting to and from their department at this forum.  Complex meetings like this needed leadership to communicate important mission information in an efficient and high trust format. The tool that I provided in order to enhance team communication is the powerful “5Ws” communication template. The 5Ws helped the MLC of DRIs at HPBC become a HIT.  I hope it helps your team too. Here you go:

WORSHIP: Remember God by prayerfully reflecting on a Biblical passage.  This information fosters humility, motivation, vitality and unity.

WINS: Celebrate success by reporting a few successful stories. This information fosters motivation and public speaking skills.

WALLS: Identify barriers to success by reporting a few frustrating facts.  This information fosters empathy and collaboration.

WANTS: Seek support in success by requesting a few helping hands. This information fosters trust and collaboration.

WARTS: Admit weakness with a few personal flaws. This information fosters humility and trust.

The 5Ws can make your team into a HIT – Higher Impact Team.   We did not get everything done that we wanted to on the plan.  We did not achieve our 15 mission goals entirely.  We did get some meaningful things done and increased the quality of communication across within and across our ministry departments.  I believe that joyful mission results were improved to the degree we practiced faith (Worship), celebrated success (Wins), identified barriers (Walls), sought collaboration (Wants) and admitted weakness (Warts).

Will the “5Ws” help your church or organizational leadership team build impact and trust this fall?  Start by providing the template in advance and asking everyone on the team to use 5 minutes to speak about their 5Ws.  If they do, then you will see the trust, collaboration and measurable results increase!  I believe teams improve through talking about worship, wins, walls, wants and warts.

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