What Happens When Your Vision is Too Rigid and Can’t Account for Change in the Environment?

Most pastors will invest more time on preaching preparation for the next month than they will on vision communication for the next five years. How about you?

That quick experiment is a great way to introduce a special two-part SUMS Remix devoted to the visionary planning problems you must solve.

Will Mancini, founder of Auxano and author of God Dreams, has never had a pastor disagree with him about the simple time analysis above. Most quickly nod with agreement, and understand that something is not quite right about it.

Of the many reasons (let’s be honest… excuses) given, one of the most important is that no one has shown the pastor how to spend time on vision planning. That’s what God Dreams is designed to do. Central to the book’s process is the Horizon Storyline, a tool leaders can use to connect short-term action steps with the long-range dream, while leveraging the power of storytelling to make the plan stick.

Vision Planning Problem #8: The plan is too rigid and can’t account for changes in the ministry environment.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – What Matters Now, Gary Hamel

This is not a book about one thing. It’s not a 250-page dissertation on leadership, teams or motivation. Instead, it’s an agenda for building organizations that can flourish in a world of diminished hopes, relentless change, and ferocious competition.

This is not a book about doing better. It’s not a manual for people who want to tinker at the margins. Instead, it’s an impassioned plea to reinvent management as we know it—to rethink the fundamental assumptions we have about capitalism, organizational life, and the meaning of work.

Obviously, there are lots of things that matter now. But in a world of fractured certainties and battered trust, some things matter more than others. While the challenges facing organizations are limitless; leadership bandwidth isn’t. That’s why you have to be clear about what really matters now. What are the fundamental, make-or-break issues that will determine whether your organization thrives or dives in the years ahead.
Solution #8: The Horizon Storyline allows for unseen changes. 

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Many classic strategic plans assume that the immediate future will resemble the recent past. Anyone alive in the 21st century knows that this assumption is no longer valid. We simply must be ready to adapt to major changes in our world from culture and politics to communication and technology.

I’ve never met a leader who swears allegiance to the status quo, and yet few organizations seem capable of proactive change.

The Christian church in its various forms, and the great universities it spawned, have proven to be some of humanity’s most durable institutions. From the beginning, they have been missional at their core – but as change accelerates, they will have to become even more so.

As institutions mature, the positive thrust of mission diminishes and the pull of habit strengthens – until one day, the organization can no longer escape the gravitational field of its own legacy.

What’s true of churches is true for other institutions: the more “organized” and tightly “managed” they are, the less adaptable they are. Not surprisingly, the most resilient thing on the planet, the Web, is loosely organized and lightly managed, and so was the first century Christian church. The lesson here? To thrive in turbulent times, organizations must become a bit more disorganized and unmanaged – less structured, less hierarchical, and less routinized.

Gary Hamel, What Matters Now

A NEXT STEP

On a chart tablet, make three columns:

  • Things we are presently doing, but should stop
  • Things the church should be doing
  • Things we are doing well

Take 15 minutes for the team to individually consider these categories. Have each person select his or her top two in each category and write their initials by them on the chart tablet. Do not allow comments until everyone is done and the list is complied.

Talk through each item and rank the list. Be sure to include the “whys” and “why nots” in your discussions. After the exercise, discuss what action steps, if any, should be taken.


Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 48-3, published July 2016.


Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.

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