One of the disciplines/homework for each of the participants in the training the EFCA is providing for me is to read a book a month to be discussing at this meeting. This past month it was the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. It falls into the genre of buisness, but can be applied, at some level, to any organization.
The book is the unveiling of a study that was done by a well degreed, insightful research team that asked a question. What are the common denominators, if any, of every company that turned from being a good company to a great company. They define the terms of good and great.
I don’t want to do a book review here, but I do want to share some of the takeaways that impacted the way we do leadership, systems, evaluation, team building, technology, and decisions.
1. Level 5 Leadership: This was one of the first common denominators discovered. The team discovered that every CEO of the good to great companies had leaders who were extremely humble but had intense personal will. They were extremely concerned that the mission succeed and were willing to do whatever it took to make that happen. However, they cared none that they get credit or that they get applause and accolades. This is how God defines greatness, regardless of the results of the organizations we lead. So “ level 5 leadership” needs be an aspiration of mine even if Collins had shown that it kept us from being great in the eyes of his study or others (Luke 24:24-27). It’s nice to see they discovered as true what God had already promised (James 4:6-10).
2. Create a Culture of Discipline, Not a Bureaucracy. Page 121 describes exactly where we’ve been and where we are. It describes what can happen when systems and policies are put in place so that organization results, but it snuffs out creativity and enables incompetency. This page alone may have saved our future from being described as bureaucratic oversight. Crew recently brought in a disciplined, executive minded leader, Tim Holmes, to bring order from chaos. Chapter 6 vividly woke us up to the need for less systems (though systems are badly needed), but the real need is for disciplined people with discipline thought who make disciplined decisions. Crew needs to be developing leaders that lead, not implement what other leaders tell them to do.
3. Stop Doing List. Not only should leaders have a list of things to be doing, but they should also regularly evaluate what they need to stop doing. This task is helpful across every ministry team. But we’ll be specifically thinking this way as we go into our budget planning this month. We structure our budget across our ministry priorities (i.e. Evangelism, Community, Training, Equipping, and Multiplying). This is helpful in that keeps us on mission to develop disciples. But we’ve not been disciplined in making sure that every program, process, and ministry fits our mission. We’ve faked ourselves out because we were able to put each program somewhere in those 5 priorities.
4. Long Obedience in the Same Direction (The Flywheel Chapter). This chapter talks about how when you push a flywheel at the start it’s hard and it moves in small increments. But by continue to push regularly the momentum builds so that it takes less effort and makes larger gains as you go. This was one of the most encouraging and empowering points in the book for me. Two reasons I say this. First, it makes every single task important. There are no little decisions. There is no reason to get sloppy with the tiniest choice. Second, it builds confidence. It would be easy to get overwhelmed with the thought of becoming what we dream of becoming as the church. But this gives me confidence that if we keep making the right choice little by little in seemingly insignificant decisions, that one day we’ll look up and see significant strides.
5. Balance Between Right People & Training. This may not qualify as a takeaway. But I see it as one because it’s a question I struggled with. It has to do with looking for the right people (discipline people with disciplined thought making disciplined decisions) to put in the right place on the team. What is the balance between saying this person is not disciplined in character, thought, and action so they cant’ be in a leadership position on the one hand. But on the other hand, let’s train, challenge, and equip this person to become a disciplined person.
Thanks for allowing me to learn by sharing this with ya’ll. Any thoughts? Questions?