It takes more than vision

(Copied from Church Leader’s Intelligence Report)

When Business Thinking Fails the Church

In an interview during the 2006 WCA Leadership Summit, business leadership researcher Jim Collins said that churches should not strive to be like businesses, because “it would be like importing the practices of mediocrity.” He said religious organizations need discipline, not to be more like businesses. “To be a truly great society, we need both great businesses and a great social sector.” However, the language and principles of greatness can bridge the business and social sectors.

Collins explained that in business, money is the means and the definition of success. In churches, money is only a means of success, not the definition. So how do we define great results in our churches? (1) Impact on people’s lives (2) Impact on the community (3) Lasting endurance beyond personality-based ministry.

“Businesses have concentrated executive power for making great decisions toward success,” Collins said. “Social organizations can’t behave that way because they do not have executive power; they have legislative power. They create realities and architect conditions where a great decision could be made.”

Collins said that an organization’s greatness is not a function of the hand it is dealt, and vision alone will not drive an organization to greatness. “It is much more effective to get good people, then set the organization’s vision, rather than setting the vision and trying to get good people to carry it out. Our work is too important to trust it to the wrong people.”

He explained the hierarchy of great people in an organization:

Level 1: A highly capable individual makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills and good work habits.
Level 2: A contributing team member contributes individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and works effectively with others in a group setting.
Level 3: A competent manager organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives.
Level 4: An effective leader catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards.
Level 5: A successful executive builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.

In closing, Collins said, “Leadership really only exists when people follow when they have the freedom not to follow. There’s no correlation between how you pay an executive and your organization’s stock market value. Great people will be great, no matter what.”

WCA Leadership Summit, August 10, 2006


This kind of goodness and many other great insights can be yours by signing up to receive Church Leaders Intelligent Report! Click here to sign up (it’s FREE but it’s so good it shouldn’t be).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s