Archive for category Uncategorized
Your organizational culture is shifting – are you prepared to lead in these new realities? The following video discusses the 6 shifts happening in your organization and how you can engage these shifts in your leadership role.
I get to speak with and work with organizations and institutions whether they be larger churches, businesses educational institutions; I’ve observed these institutional and organizational movements over the last few years. Many have been written about, some of already taken place, some are emerging. I’d like to talk about a few of them and maybe some implications for your leadership related to those.
The first is from a focus on the organization to focus on the organism. You see that now with less focus around all the little slots and things that relate to the organization as something in and of itself to be maintained and more emphasis on what is happening inside the culture of where we work or where we minister or where we live. What’s happening with the people, what’s happening with emerging ideas and systems and the integration of those things? So it’s more organism oriented the culture itself the vibe that is coming from within that if you will than around maintaining the organization or putting too much emphasis on the structure of the organization.
That leads to a second one which is instead of being institutionally, driven being institutionally supported. The institutions important but what’s the role of the institution? Is it to drive everything and pass everything down or is it to support emerging ideas, new leadership developing, new teams, new formats, and new engagements? I use to have this mantra still do but for many years the structure serves the people, the people don’t serve the structure and so what we’re seeing is more of a shift to moving structures that can accommodate what’s happening within the organization, so to speak, or for the organization’s mission and shaping the institution to support people versus to make them support the institution.
That’s related to another one I’ve observed and that’s obviously the move from out more of a hierarchical to a flatter structure. I don’t think we’ll ever be totally flat in many institutions and organizations. I don’t want to be overly idealistic about that but I think there definitely is a movement away from strict oppressive sometimes hierarchies where power is centered in only a few and the many are just left as implementers. And you’re going to see a flatter leadership as we become organic as we continue to become more are shared in resources and in other strategies that we have. And frankly a younger emerging leadership corps desires that and I think you need to accommodate that. Another one is what I would call a shift from content to value. In other words it’s not just our message and what we think about it and how we deliver it, but what value we bring and what are the underlying values behind that? It’s more important for us to understand as a working culture, what are the core things at the heart of who we are verses simply what’s the message we’ve given, always given, how do we keep giving it, how to get the same message to more people? There’s truth in some of that and a need for some of that but what are the underlying values behind the message? People need to hear that and be motivated by it. It’s also the sense of a movement from an event to a lifestyle. Whether you’re in business or non-profit or whatever, this is particularly true in I think a lot of ministry situations but it’s not limited to that. Where the event for example in a church, the Sunday service or in a business, the sales transaction perhaps it’s not all about just the event it’s about a lifestyle. In other words we don’t just gear up to present something we’re trying to become something and as leaders and as an organization the emphasis is on how are we living out these values and beliefs that we have?
Another thing I see is a shift from creating just distribution channels, again core product or ideas being disseminated, to what I would call missional hubs, where ideas are being generated all around the organization and out in the culture so that we’re not just a centralized group finding more ways to create more distribution channels, that’s valid when we have a quality product or service, but it’s how do we create more hubs that are themselves generating product and ideas so it’s not always all coming from sort of central base.
And finally, from being more silo to being more integrated. I think we’ve seen that across a number of kinds of institutions and organizations instead of it’s just sales and marketing and distribution and R&D and so on in the corporate areas. Or in education where we just have administration and then there’s faculty and then or the disciplines I teach history you teach science or you teach theology, we don’t talk to each other. That’s breaking down to where we see more integrated aspects because educationally, developmentally we need the integration of ideas, we need to expose people to one another so more and more cross-functional teams, more ad hoc teams, more conversations around the lunch table from people from various disciplines helps each of us grow and develop in our leadership. The implications of these shifts are, as I mentioned, I think a flatter leadership, people who are more relational in their leadership, more able to build teams and connect with them. I think in general people who are more interested in modeling the values than simply disseminating again the information. So I think for us as leaders whatever my organization or institution is I need to embody that first and foremost. It’s more important that I live in the world of being what I am advocating not just doing some things around the principles and values.
And finally I think that we’re seeing ideas come at the core of leadership not just mandates and control and management but ideas. That’s the ideas for the future that will drive the future organization, the future institution.
So these are some of the things I think in our leadership which as it becomes more collaborative the more shared, not without authority, now without power, but I think these movements and shifts demand that kind of leadership.
I’m interested in what you think about these 6 shifts happening in your organization. So let me know, as I work with leadership teams and teach and do conferences I understand that these shifts are happening and I’m trying to help leaders and engage those things.
What are you doing to engage these shifts?
I’d be interested in hearing from you. So have a great day!
Small Group Advanced Training, Coming to a Town Near You!
I am excited to share with everyone that I am taking my Small Group Advanced Training on the road! I will be offering one day conferences that are designed for strategic ministry leaders and their teams in the group life arena.
This training is targeted at you and your specific leadership challenges. Small Group Advanced Training will help you:
- Diagnose Specific Ministry Challenges and Barriers
- Formulate Strategic Next Steps
- Start the Process of Creating a Focused Ministry Plan
- Cast the Group Life Vision Clearly and Compellingly
- Align Group Life with the other Ministries of the Church
- Clarify Your Role and Responsibilities
The process combines teaching, team time, planning and interaction so that your experience is optimal and your take-home value is maximized.
Email me if you would like more information. Space is limited, but we are still adding more training locations and additional dates. I look forward to serving you and your team!
Currently scheduled Small Group Advanced Training Dates:
- Thursday, June 7, 2012: Zionsville Presbyterian Church (Zionsville, Indiana) 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 13, 2012: Austin Stone Community Church (Austin, Texas) 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Thursday, June 14, 2012: Fellowship Bible Church (Dallas, Texas) 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Wall Street Journal May 16 (Section D1) had some great stuff on Meeting Killers. Four styles that can kill any well-intended meeting were described.
The Jokester –
Assault with a deadly punchline. This member cracks jokes often, especially when not appropriate. I find these people are usually nervous and need humor to break the tension. When they are challenged personally, or asked to look deeper into their own life or soul, they get sarcastic and side-track the conversation.
The Dominator –
First-degree nuisance. The person tends to be a narcissist and believes the conversation revolves around their ideas. Has to have the last word…and the first word…and lots of words in between. I find you have to confront this person or pull them offline at a break and review the ground rules – unless it is your boss. Good luck with that one.
The Naysayer –
Premeditated negativity. Waits until consensus is almost reached and then drops the bomb. A real David or Debbie Downer type who makes Eeyore look like a Pep-rally leader. It is good to run stuff by this person before meetings and get buy-in when they are off guard. Limits their impact at the meeting and you can say, “That’s interesting – a few minutes ago you were pretty excited about this. What changed?”
The Rambler –
Death by boredom. Takes the long way home…and always gets lost. Here is where you have to jump in and say, “Jim can you take the next 30 seconds and summarize your thoughts?” or “Let’s land this plane before the airport shuts down.” Use the 3-minute egg timer in the middle of the table if needed. And leverage the group to provide feedback.
Good meetings are the result of good leaders and solid ground rules. Review these regularly, set a tight agenda, and try doing some shorter meetings standing up, and do the follow up on email.
Top Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs
So you want to step out on your own, or build a company from scratch, or launch a new non-profit, or plant a church? It is likely you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit. Awesome…but do you have the essential qualities successful start-up leaders say you’ll need to break through?
A WSJ article on March 19 lists the results of a survey of successful entrepreneurs. Here are the top qualities they listed in order of importance:
- Relentless customer focus
- Ability to team
When asked, “Where did you pick up the capabilities needed to be successful?” they responded as follows (also in order of importance):
- Experience as an employee
- Higher education
- Secondary education
- Senior executives/board
First, it is no surprise that vision, passion, and drive are at the top of the qualities list. You have to have your start-up in your gut, not just in your head. By itself, an idea is worth very little. But an idea that is developed, tried, refined, funded, and desperately needed will go a long way. The person who can move an idea into action, and works hard pulling others together with integrity and passion, will turn it into something transforming.
When it comes to an innovative idea, you cannot just see it – you must see it through!
And second, it is no surprise that experience (rightly evaluated and understood) combined with formal and informal learning environments, is our best teacher. Formally, classroom instruction can broaden our intellectual horizons and sharpen our abilities to engage and defend ideas. Informally, mentors, family members and our co-founding partners bring their experiences – successes and failures – into contact with ours.
The takeaway? Discover what is in your gut and go after it. Stick with it through failure and disappointment. But never do it alone, because you’ll need others to learn from and maybe cry with. Be relentless about the quality and usefulness of your product, service or mission. Become a voracious learner, and invite others to join your team in the grand pursuit of your life-changing vision.
And watch what happens! We all might be very surprised!
This is how I guide leaders and teams to work toward organizational outcomes, bringing personal leadership strengths in sync with group or team processes.
Whether working with an individual or an organization there are some common issues that must be addressed to get the team moving in the right direction and the leader focusing on the right stuff.
Here’s my 5-fold approach for moving forward to achieve results. Each has a “takeaway” recommendation so a leader can act with focus.
The Development Process
1) Name Reality: Using guided discussion with core teams and leaders, and some basic assessment tools we will identify leverage points that drive progress. Barriers to progress can be identified clearly, so that leaders know how and when to engage the challenge. A clear, honest picture of reality is the starting point for meaningful and lasting change.
2) Prioritize Investment: How a group or team allocates resources depends on what “drivers” are most likely to produce results. We do not ignore weaknesses and broken parts of the strategy. Instead we focus on what seems to be working and what has the highest capacity for leverage. Time, talent and treasure are precious commodities. Are you deploying them wisely?
3) Catalyze Movement: Rather than wait, I focus my energies to catalyze movement within priority areas as quickly as possible. This is not like building an automobile. This is an organism—it is fluid, flexible and dynamic. By catalyzing limited, focused movement we can determine the impact on the whole, and discern where to bring additional energy or redirect resources. Get the right things moving in the right direction as soon as possible.
4) Guide Process: Change cannot be managed. But, like electricity, it can be channeled and guided, measured and adapted. As strategies for movement are put into play, we will navigate their impact, funneling successful results into greater overall impact. Leaders need coaching and guidance to navigate change.
5) Cultivate Feedback: You must create feedback opportunities all along the strategy pathway. Rather than wait until the full impact of guided change takes place, feedback loops are utilized throughout the process, ensuring that leaders are wisely fueling the pace, level and scope of the change. Timely feedback that informs meaningful next steps helps a leader refine the process, reset the target and execute the strategy.
How are your gauges? I check the ones on my car frequently. The readings on the gauges provide a snapshot of reality. They rarely lie. We ignore them at our peril. I am glad my gas gauge has a yellow light that tells me I have about a gallon or 2 left before I wind up hitchhiking on some dark road in the middle of nowhere.
How about your Leadership Gauges? There are 3 to pay attention to. Where would you mark each gauge in relation to your life?
1) Spiritual Gauge: Empty…..Half ……Full?
This gauge moves toward empty every time you invest spiritual energy in others. Helping people connect with God, providing soul care and engaging in great moral or ethical battles can sap your tank. Though especially true of pastors and non-profit leaders, this can affect every leader.
The spiritual life must be replenished. Times for prayer, meditation, solitude, reading and silence are usually sufficient to refuel the tank. Pay attention to the soul and to the heart. Life flows from those places and, like a garden, they must be tended to and weeded regularly.
2) Emotional Gauge: Empty….Half….Full?
Are you experiencing unresolved conflict with co-workers, family or friends? Are you continually sad and depressed, filled with fear, easily aggravated or overly defensive? Then your emotional gauge is likely near empty.
Getting relationships back on track, addressing conflict head on, and forgiving people who have offended you will help move the needle back toward Full. It is important to process these emotions with a trusted friend or safe small group who know you and want to see you find healing. Consult a professional counselor if needed, especially if there have been serious losses in life; a death, job loss, a broken dream, or a relational breakdown.
3) Physical Gauge: Empty….Half….Full?
Lack of sleep, poor diet, too much caffeine or sugar, illness, and too little exercise or fresh air will drain this tank quickly. Some of these we cannot avoid, but we must address. Allow time for healing during an illness. Too many of us get heroic and come back to work before we should, infecting others and slowing our healing. The result is poor performance and fractured relationships.
So pay attention to your gauges, and make two decisions. First, build some margin into the calendar. Put “ME” on the schedule just like any serious appointment and stick to it. Set vacation time NOW. And second, set clear boundaries. Say NO and mean it. You do not have to do it all, and your kids do not have to sign up for everything. FOCUS is your friend!
Lead at full capacity, and your leadership will flourish.
Just Released! Small Group Insights DVD Leader’s Kit! Act now for your chance to receive a copy of Small Group Insights! To celebrate the release of this new resource we are hosting a week-long DVD giveaway! (For more about how the SGI Kit can transform the relationships in your group or team, read my Post, Real Relationships: Real Groups & Teams).
To be eligible for a free copy, comment below by answering this question: How would improving the relational dynamic of your team increase its effectiveness? There will be multiple winners per day! You can also follow me on Twitter or “Like” Dr. Bill Donahue on FB for more chances to win!
The SGI assessment has been used with universities, hospitals, churches and businesses. It is a proven tool that we have refined for greater use. So we added a simple leader’s DVD to help guide a group or team toward health and productivity. The multiple-page SGI results (sent immediately to each person online) provide awesome feedback about how each member of the team connects with others. This insight into each person, combined with information on how to work better as a team, will create an authentic environment where you can build healthy relationships and get the mission done more effectively.
Respond below for your chance to receive a free copy!
Leaders thrive in tension. But they can also be torn apart by poorly navigated tension. This is especially true when dealing with personal and organizational values. Zealots of the past age embrace the tried and true while visionary dreamers of amazing futures are guided by the new, the hip, and the “just imagine what we could be!”
So which values make it on the list? Or better yet – WHOSE values? Those of the senior leader? The team? The customer/target audience? When you start talking values – as I do with groups and leaders I coach – you get a lot of tension. It looks like this:
Preserve the Past ————-VALUES—————Embrace the Future
The tension created here is no small thing. Preservation of the past is not bad. There is “value” to what got you here. The people and leaders who shouldered the problems of the past should not be ignored as you shape the paradigms of the future. The energy that fuels the future must be unleashed without crushing the spirits of those who built the past.
Tension is good and necessary. Why?
Tension and leadership are partners. Without tension, there is no need for leadership. Navigating the “pull” of many good forces in many different directions is the challenge of every leader. Today, for example, I will have to manage the tension between some self-leadership issues (taking advantage of some personal growth opportunities) while still reaching out to others to serve them through my coaching and consulting. Both are necessary for me.
Personal and organizational values are tested and forged in such tension. So here are three questions to ask when shaping values, given to me by a mentor many years ago.
1) What to we want to Avoid? Those who wish to preserve the past love this question. It is the guiding motif behind their energy and commitment to “keep both feet firmly planted” in what they believe. Fear – sometimes legitimate fear — of losing hard-fought ground is behind this. Or people are worried that a core value will be lost in the future.
Example: A company wants to receive just-in-time data for decision-making. Sounds like a great value (“there should be no one standing in the information line!”).
But without a filter or a process for sifting through that information (guided by strategic values and frameworks) the leadership team may act impulsively: “well, the new data tell us that we should…” So leaders who embrace the value of timely information and data must wrestle with the value to maintain brand quality, vision clarity, and consistent implementation of strategy. Or else the group will shift and sway with every new piece of data that comes down the pike.
So what might these leaders want to avoid? Impulsive decision-making; the kind that comes from an effort to be hip or current, instead of being wise.
2) What do we want to Preserve? Example: A new effort is being designed to get everyone in a group or on a team, because of a timeless value — No One Stands Alone. If we hold to a long-term value like this in the face of needed change, do we appear to be stuck in the past? Be careful here. A long-held value does not imply a lack of creativity. It simply means a desire for continuity at the core level. Fresh strategic thinking can still embrace enduring values while adding new values that will guide the future.
It can be a win-win effort.
3) What do we want to Achieve? Those committed to taking the proverbial “next hill” love this question. The problem is they often leave those committed to #1 and #2 above lying wounded on the previous hill. Vision-casters are “next hill” people. We need them. But they will look over their shoulders and see no one following if they do not re-group, re-align, and re-invest in the development of staff and volunteers who fought the last battle.
Potential achievements must never eclipse past accomplishments. Reward and recognize as you renew and re-envision.
Final Thoughts: Obsession with the future at the expense of the past is leadership suicide (let’s watch how Apple handles this the next 12 months) and obsession with the past at the expense of the future is organizational suicide (go to school on the last decade and present decisions by HP!).
Granted, there are people who will never move ahead. But there are many who will, and they just need someone who values their contribution and challenges them to become a learning community with eyes to the future. Strong companies, schools, churches, boards, and agencies that have been around understand this.
They may lack the sizzle of a Groupon. But they won’t get fried either.
How are you navigating the “Values” tension with your team?