Communication Leadership Making Church Matter Team Building

The Advantage

June 21, 2013

“As part of our book roll out we have been traveling to interesting places and meeting even more interesting people. So I spent part of the week with my associate Tom, in the San Francisco Bay Area,  at the invitation of author Patrick Lencioni. Patrick is the founder and president of The Table Group, a management and consulting firm specializing in organizational health and executive team development for many Fortune 500 companies. He is also the author of nine business and leadership books including the best selling recent release, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business.

Patrick read our book and liked it (a lot), so much so that he asked us to visit him to talk about our organization. So instead of advising AT&T or Microsoft he spent the day with the guys from a little church in the woods.

Most interesting were six basic questions he asked us to ask ourselves:

1. Why do we exist?

2. How do we behave?

3. What do we do?

4. How will we succeed?

5. What is most important right now?

6. Who must do what?

Here are some of our answers:

1. As a church we exist to bring people to their savior.

2. How we behave is all about our values, and these can be organized as “core” values and “aspirational” ones. Core values are behavior traits inherent in the organization, what matters most, what your organization is more committed to than 90% of the other organizations who are doing what you do.  We identified dynamic Orthodoxy, excellence, growth, and simplicity as core values. Aspirational values are characteristics an organization wants to have. These we named as gratitude, enthusiasm, creativity, authenticity, humility, and professionalism.

3. When it comes to what we do, we named just two things, which obviously encompass many things:

  • Build a great weekend experience that is attractive to the unchurched through music, message and ministers
  • Grow disciples through weekend worship, small groups, ministry, and missions.

4. How do we succeed? This is the collection of intentional decisions an organization makes to give itself the best chance to thrive. We began answering this question by stating that we will not do much, only those few things we can do really well. The priority will always be the weekend, and we will always be looking to serve the dynamic Orthodoxy that is at the heart of our parish.

5. What is most important right now? Well, we think that is about staff development and morale (we are experiencing some challenges currently) and growth: we need to confirm and then begin communicating the Strategic Campus Plan we have been working on for what seems like forever.

6. Who will do what? Well, we’re working on that one.

Ask yourself these questions, about your business, your family, your organization. See how well you do. The easier those questions are to answer, the healthier and stronger your organization is going to be. The more you struggle with those questions, the more work you’ve probably got to do. By the way, read Patrick’s book if you want to know more:

Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage (Jossey-Bass, 2012).

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