Work smarter. Whenever we feel the pressure of too many responsibilities and not enough time, someone reminds us to work smarter. Soon we get the impression that being smart is the key to effectiveness in most areas of life. We believe the smartest people always have first place in whatever they do.
In his book, The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni makes a powerful case that intelligence is not enough when the task is leadership. Being smart helps, but he says that the additional quality which sets apart the best leaders is the ability to create healthy organizations. In fact, he makes the case that health begets intelligence – and trumps it every time. Being healthy is more important than being smart.
Lencioni defines a healthy organization a as one with minimal politics and confusion, high degrees of morale and productivity, and low turnover among good employees. If we apply his assertions to the church, we can imagine faithful congregations with less dissension and greater clarity of mission, increased engagement of members, and back doors closed to revolving membership. Which of us in ministry would not want those qualities demonstrated in the churches we lead?
How can we create a healthy organization? In The Advantage, Lencioni lays out a compelling argument for the four disciplines of leadership necessary for the task: build a cohesive leadership team, create clarity, overcommunicate clarity, and reinforce clarity. As he outlines these responsibilities, he gives clear guidance on specific tasks needed to accomplish them. For instance, in building a cohesive team, leaders should stress behavioral accountability over quantitative accountability. Simply stated: how team members act is more important than their numerical results. Surely Jesus would agree.
Lencioni devotes three chapters to the role of clarity in creating a healthy organization. Leaders know the purpose of their organization, their goals, and their expectations of themselves and others. Leaders teach and remind other members about these things until everyone else can also articulate them. For Lencioni, this is a primary task of leadership. It cannot be given away or assigned to another person. Lencioni describes the primary leader as the CRO – the chief reminding officer.
One of the most helpful characteristics of Lencioni’s book is the checklist of actions for each chapter. He moves the reader from talk about healthy organizations to actionable steps that a leader can implement. Whether we are responsible for the entire church or a ministry area, the author provides concrete ideas we can implement to move toward healthy churches. He adds more practical ideas by including a link to his website where the reader can find even more resources. See: http://www.tablegroup.com/organizational-health
Emphasizing the practical nature of his book, Lencioni also provides a checklist for organizational health. Why not see how your church rates?
If working harder and working smarter have not helped you lead your church as effectively as you would like, try working healthier. No one provides more helpful, more useable advice than Patrick Lencioni in The Advantage.