Welcome to Day 8 of the Tribes group blogging festivities, initiated by John Saddington. I'll be focusing on pages 35-39, which deals with initiative, leverage, followings, factories, and my favorite--Innovation. (Which I believe it's at the heart of it all.)
What I love about innovation--the power of an idea--is it can come from anywhere. It's not dependent on what you've done before, your talents or bank account size. In fact, too much of any of these things can actually inhibit the process. That's why I'm a huge cheerleader for the little guys.
Large established organizations are frequently boxed in [perhaps self-contained?] by this type of thinking. There's too much at risk to try something new. The stakes might be too high with much to potentially lose. The early days of Southwest Airlines was a brilliant example of challenging the status quo. They refused to hire industry professionals who knew how it was "supposed" to be done. They were masters at asking, "What if".
"What if we standardize our planes to make servicing them easier? What if we could turn them around in 10 mins instead of 40? What if we focused regionally? What if the flight attendants had fun with the passengers?"
They changed the game.
Little guys are nimble enough to shift gears if something isn't working. They're forced to get creative when solving problems because throwing more money or people at it isn't an option. They cast vision and create passionate tribes that are crazy enough to realize they just might be able to make a difference.
This is one of the reasons why I love church planters so much. They're entrepreneurs. Underdogs. Ministry MacGyvers, if you will.
"[You have] ... everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself. The people around you realize this, and they are ready to follow if you're ready to lead." -Seth Godin
The challenge is to maintain this mindset as the organization begins to mature. Marketplace companies have R&D labs; what about the Church? This is something we need to be intentional about because it's inevitable. Once we discover something that works, we systematize it. So what are we doing to overcome the Factory mindset that is inherent with larger organizations?
Fellow Triiiber, Eric Murrell did a fantastic job painting a picture of the unfortunate results in his post of an organization consumed by the Factory mindset:
"The lack of enthusiasm was even evident from the demeanor in the break room; instead of discussing the latest technologies and wildly daydreaming about it’s implications on our field, folks sat around passively drinking their coffee and checking the clock to see how much time remained before they could escape their fluorescent prisons."
How many churches does this describe today?
My take away from this section is that innovation is born out of initiative, which leads to increased leverage and a following. Factories can be the unfortunate byproduct of success that cripples future growth if not handled with care. True, efficiencies can be fantastic but at what cost?
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