Organizations develop cultures that too often focus on who is already in the organization rather than who is not yet in. Think of that in a church situation where we often resist change or innovation because "what we do has worked well for us." That is a true statement, perhaps in that, it has worked well for those who are already in the church. But, it does not take into account those who are not in the church and are not likely to get there without addressing their needs.

Many denominations, for instance, are not seeing growth today, even Evangelical groups. Is it possible that their ethos and policies are keeping young, entrepreneurial leaders from joining them because they are looking for more flexibility? Those in the denomination could argue that their culture works without realizing that it works for those who are in but not for those who could be in.

The mission I lead used to devalue leadership as a value that had the unintended consequence of keeping many leaders from applying and joining. Those inside thought things worked well, but it did not work well for many who chose not to join. 

One of the important jobs of a leader is to understand that they may well have barriers to others joining them and then deal with those barriers. One way to find this out is to ask those outside the organization or church why they might not join. I am not suggesting violating key values but that the culture or strategies that worked in one day may not work in another. As insiders, we may not see that our ministry is perfectly designed for those who are already there and not for those who are not there.

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  • Jul 13, 2015
  • Category: News
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