It is a fun game: how many cards can we stack on top of another until the house of cards comes down.

In real life, it is more serious - for leaders and team leaders. The measure of our leadership is not what happens when we are leading but what happens when we leave. Does what we built hang together and continue to flourish or does it come apart like a house of cards?

Some leaders build their team or organization on the force of their personality but once they are gone the glue is gone - the cards fall. Other, wiser leaders build their team or organization on values and principles and good people. When they are gone, the values, principles and good people remain and the organization or team continues strong. These leaders have not built a house of cards but a team of strength.

If you are a leader here is a question you should ask. If I disappeared today, what would happen? Would the direction and effectiveness continue in spite of my absence or would it flounder and come apart? In too many cases the reality is the latter rather than the former.

True team and organizational strength is built on a commonly held mission, set of guiding principles, central ministry focus and a carefully built culture that is held, believed in and practiced by everyone. It is in their bones, not just in their leader because their leader has brought alignment around beliefs and practices not around their personality or authority. One builds true long term stability while the other builds temporary but weak alignment.

The mission clarifies what you are about. The guiding principles clarify how you go about doing what you are about. The central ministry focus clarifies what you must do day in and day out to succeed and the culture clarifies the ethos that you are committed to creating. These are the four most important questions every leader answers for their team or organization and they are the glue that holds people together for maximum alignment and ministry passion.

Missional glue is far more powerful than the glue of one's personality - especially if one wants to build something that has influence beyond their time in leadership. It is also a sign of a humble leader when they build around a set of principles and values and a clear mission, rather than themselves. After all it is not about us but the mission God has entrusted to us. 

If you want help in building a ministry based on those principles that will last, read Leading From the Sandbox. It contains the secrets of clarifying those things that are most important for your team or organization. It will take you from a house of cards to a house intentionally built to last.
  • Jun 16, 2013
  • Category: News
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