"Those then who hear these words of mine and act on them will be like the wise ones who built their houses on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but they did not fall, because they had been founded on rock." - Matthew 7:24-25
At a recent staff meeting Kathleen Hall, Diocesan Director of Human Resources and Administration, shared with us a portion of a presentation Mary Kay Wold, CEO and President of Church Pension Group, gave to a gathering of Episcopal Church Administrators. The presentation was based on a new book by leadership guru Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. Later in the same week, I listened to a podcast interview with Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church (a church whose mission is to reach those with no religious affiliation in Atlanta) and he referenced the same book as the basis of a year-long study with his leadership team.
Intrigued,I went online to read more about The Advantage.
Lencioni’s premise is this: the seminal difference between successful organizations and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with their organizational health. As a practicing Christian and consultant to ministers around the country, Lencioni believes that organizational health in churches matters even more than in businesses because of our dependence on those who volunteer their time and financial support.
When asked why most leaders don’t make their organization’s health a top priority, Lencioni said, “All agree that their organization’s health is important; most, however, think the work to get there is beneath them.” He believes that before leaders can tap into the power of organizational health, we must acknowledge our own resistance to the hard, slow, and steady work that such health requires. Most of us are caught up in the adrenaline rush of daily pressures and the work of putting out fires. Organizational health is also difficult to quantify, although like physical health, its presence or absence affects everything we value and attempt to accomplish.
For those who would like to explore the issue of organizational health further, here is an executive summary of Lencioni’s work.
I will be reading his book and will share insights as they seem helpful. If you decide to do the same, I’d love to hear your impressions.