I was looking through some articles I had set aside to read and one in particular caught my eye that I thought I would share with you this week. The article is by Dick Blanc and is titled, “Is Your Church a High-Performing or Low-Performing Organization? Find Out.”
In this article Blanc points out three identifiers of High Performing Organizations:
“They know who they are, they know what they do well…”
“…they have deep insight into ever-changing community and market needs…”
“…they have courage to continuously adapt and thrive relative to their peers.”
These are great questions for a church/organization to explore about themselves. When I begin working with a client, it is imperative that I clearly understand the vision of the church/organization and what it is that they want to accomplish through a generosity initiative or capital campaign. In some cases, I can tell very quickly that the leaders have a clear grasp of who they are, where they are going and why. However, sometimes I will run into a leadership I can tell is not very self-aware and they have picked a vision that may or may not be a good fit for them.
I would like to take Blanc’s 3 identifiers and reword them into the form of 3 questions that I challenge would be a healthy exercise to work through with your leadership.
1. “What are we really good at and how does that define what our vision should/shouldn’t be?”
I’m amazed at how many churches have never really considered looking at themselves through this lens. Put up a big sheet of paper or go to a whiteboard with your leadership and pose this question to them. But be self-disciplined to identify only things you are truly good at versus things in which you wish, hope or feel you should do well. I agree 100% with Blanc that a key for any church/organization to be high performing is to be very honest and self-aware of their natural strengths and weaknesses. I can remember hearing Lencioni speak about how many leaders and organizations waste time trying to turn their weaknesses into strengths. Smart leaders and organizations spend a reasonable amount of time and effort in responsibly mitigating the impact of their weaknesses and fueling their strengths.
You may do this exercise and discover what you already know, but if you do it with your leadership you will be reinforcing a clear understanding of this concept to them. They can lead with greater emphasis if they have a stronger understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your church/organization. At the same time, you may do this exercise and discover something you didn’t know or something on which you have a misperception.
Blanc has an anonymous quote at the beginning of his article that says, “For executive leaders of large organizations, you don’t know what you don’t know…especially when you’re certain that you know!”
2. “What are needs of the people in our community? What are they looking for?”
Many church/organizations know what they are going to provide their community, but does that lineup with what the community needs? I know, I know…your community needs Jesus but many don’t know they do or even think they don’t want Jesus. The need for Jesus isn’t what this question is asking. This question is really pointing you to the strategies of Jesus. The Jesus of the New Testament was a master (granted He’s the Son of God) of understanding the felt need of the people around Him and bringing them the truth of His message through the provision of that need.
Research the demographics. Read your local news articles or blogs to see what is going on and what the felt needs are in your community. Set aside time in your leadership meetings to brainstorm and write these things out because they change. Communities are continually shifting and a God-honoring church/organization remains aware of these changes and adjusts accordingly. There is no question that we stand on the timeless truths of God and His Word. However, bringing these timeless truths to your ever-shifting community in a way that resonates with them cannot be done on autopilot. The high-performing church/organization continually measures the cultural shifts in their community and responds in sync.
Blanc adds his own quote, “The greatest threats to the impact your church will have aren’t the issues you’re aware of, the greatest threats are those that aren’t in plain sight.”
3. “Do we have the courage to change and/or adapt based on the answers we get from Questions #1 & #2?”
It is one thing to know what you need to do and entirely another thing to actually do it. High-performing churches/organizations need to follow the motto of a good soldier...improvise, adapt and overcome! Look at what it is you have (Question #1), understand what needs to be done (Question #2) and then merge these two things and overcome in Jesus' name. But none of this happens if you don’t have the courage to change and adapt.
Blanc goes on to talk about four characteristics of organizations that are declining and are no longer high performing. For this blog, I decided to just focus on these three things I feel would propel you forward. But if you want to look at Blanc’s entire article, feel free to use the link I have provided and read the rest of the article yourself.
If you go through the process above and you feel you would like some help in taking further steps, send me an email or call me. I would be glad to continue the conversation…and no that doesn’t mean try and sell you something. I’m always excited to help the Kingdom work and build relationship. My feeling is that if you ever find yourself in need of my services, you can call on me based on trust and a relationship we’ve built together.
Click Here to check out this article for yourself. I submit these articles and ideas to you in order to add value to the work you’re doing in your local church. If you would like to talk about this or other ideas to grow you culture of generosity please email me. Keep me in mind if you’re looking for coaching or a consultant in the area of giving and/or a generosity campaign/initiative. If you don’t already, I would also really appreciate it if you would follow me on Twitter at @cstovall16 or on my Generis Facebook page.