Andy Stanley was, in my opinion, the best presenter of the entire Catalyst conference.
His teaching on systems was great. The title of his session was “Liberating Your Organization: Creating a Leadership-Friendly Culture.”
A few “quotables” and then I’ll give the main points of his teaching:
- “God created and runs the universe through systems.”
- “If you don’t approach problems systematically, you’ll blame people for problems that systems create.”
- “80% of your problems are not people problems; they are systems problems, because systems create behaviors.”
- “The mission statement is hanging on the wall. The systems are happening down the hall.”
- “Churches that are led by ‘we’ typically end up with dysfunctional systems.”
- “Part of the hard work of diligent leadership is systems analysis.”
- “Vision needs systems.”
Some teaching points of Andy’s session:
- Systems are your organization’s approach to getting things done. (In other words, systems answer the question, “How do we get this done?”)
- Systems create behaviors. Andy said, “Talks don’t create behaviors. Cool environments don’t create behaviors. Systems create behaviors.”
- “The systems you inherit, adopt, or create will eventually impact what staff and volunteers do.”
- Five components of a system:
- Expectations (rules) – what do we expect our people to do? How do we expect them to act?
- Rewards (or lack of) – how do we intentionally affirm behaviors that are aligned with our expectations?
- Consequences (or lack of) – what happens when people fail to meet the organizational expectations or the expectations of their particular role?
- Communication (content and style) – how do we communicate our expectations, the purpose for those expectations (i.e. our mission and vision), and the rewards/consequences? Who knows what, when, and how and what behaviors are expected as a result of knowing?
- Behaviors (of those in charge) – are the leaders modeling the organizational values? Are their behaviors consistent with the organizational expectations?
- “If a leader casts a new vision and never addresses old systems, nothing changes.”
- Four system imperatives:
- Your system should allow you to involve and hire the best person for the job.
- You system should allow you to get the right people to the table.
- Your system should allow you to make complex decisions within the context of a small group of empowered people.
- Your system should ensure that only one person answers to “They.” (That person should, in most cases, be the top leader.)
I’ve been talking with a lot of pastors/leaders lately about the place and value of systems. I’ll post what I’m learning later, but for now I’ll say that Andy’s talk is confirming a lot of good and right principles relative to systems… particularly within the church.