Tag Archive - advantage

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Top Posts of 2013 #2: “Why Nice People Kill Churches”

This post checks in at  #2 in 2013. The post went viral, being re-posted on multiple sites…not just due to the title, but the leadership concept it addresses.

For the last 12 years I’ve had the incredible opportunity to serve on the Sr. Leadership Teams of some of the nations fastest growing and leading churches. Over that time I’ve observed time and time again one of the most destructive inclinations to church growth and the advancement of the Gospel is the simple fact that people on staff at most churches are simply too nice to each other.

5 Ways Nice People Hurt the Mission of the Church

1. Nice people have a tendency to hire people that they like rather than people who are going to advance the mission of the church. In other words it’s okay to lose as long as you’re losing with friends.

2. Nice people avoid conflict and by so doing don’t mine the best ideas out of their teams.

3. Nice people keep people on their teams well after the work has surpassed their capacity. This not only slows the mission but it exposes the weaknesses of and hurts the very person they’re trying to protect.

4. Nice people don’t confront the brutal facts and as a result “hallway conversations” take place and a lack of unity begins to undermine the mission.

5. Nice people sacrifice the flock for the sake of one sheep. This happens every time you let that one person sing who has no business singing (if you’ve been around church-world for any length of time you know exactly what I’m talking about).

Let me be clear, what I’m not saying is that the staff at your church shouldn’t be nice to each other. But when being nice begins to trump being honest because you don’t want to experience the discomfort of a difficult conversation, that’s not nice…that’s selfish. And when that begins to happen everybody loses.

In his new book “The Advantage” Patrick Lencioni says it this way, “Firing someone is not necessarily a sign of accountability, but is often the last act of cowardice for a leader who  doesn’t know how or isn’t willing to hold people accountable.” 

There’s a strong principle and clear message in there that many church leaders need to take some time and wrestle to the ground.


Posted in Leadership

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Bringing Clarity to Organizational Culture

In at interview with Tony Morgan last week I was asked how I would define organizational culture for his readers. It’s a tough question. Even the most experienced leaders I’ve been around have trouble offering a clear explanation about what organizational culture is…much less, how to go about intentionally building a desired culture in the organization they’re leading. It’s tough because culture is the “squishy” stuff or “soft” stuff in an organization that’s hard to measure on a chart, map, or graph.

The hard truth, like it or not, is that every organization has a culture. And the leaders of the organization are the cultural architects. And by intention or neglect every organization will eventually take on the cultural characteristics of its leaders.

The culture of an organization is the context in which everything else happens. If the culture isn’t healthy it doesn’t matter how sophisticated your strategy is or how talented your team is. You’re on a road to organizational mediocrity, or worse failure. Patrick Lencioni puts it this way in his book The Advantage:

“The health of an organization provides the context for strategy, finances, marketing, technology, and everything else that happens in it, which is why it is the single greatest factor determining an organizations success. More than talent. More than knowledge. More than innovation.” Patrick Lencioni

Here are four ways you can begin intentionally building the culture in the organization you’re leading.

1. Attitudes that are Adopted

What attitude or posture do you want the people in your organization to adopt? If this became reality what would change in the way you go about your work? Are you demonstrating this attitude as the leader?

2. Values that are Championed

What organizational or team values are already being championed? What needs to shift and begin being put center stage? What would happen if these values weren’t just on some piece of paper tucked away in some desk drawer or simply printed in the boardroom, but actually lived out in the way your organization went about its work?

3. Beliefs that are Instilled

What do you fundamentally believe about the work you’re doing? Is this belief held throughout the entire organization? Is the work you’re doing worth doing?

4. Behaviors that are Reproduced

What behaviors do you celebrate and reward in your organization? If everyone in your organization behaved this way would it be a better place? Would the organization naturally take ground?


Posted in Leadership