A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great. There are those who point out that social sector companies and non-profits (hospitals, churches, universities, volunteer groups, etc.) must be run more like businesses. But since most businesses are far from displaying excellence, leaders must not fall into the trap to merely apply business principles, but to understand and apply what practices makes certain businesses great.
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Now to another subject altogether: I have learned a lot from business and management authors like Stephen Covey, Peter Drucker, Patrick Lencioni and Jim Collins. But I am also a little wary about them. The basis for leadership in the Body of Christ is completely different than in business or politics. However, many of the values of leadership as expressed by these authors are essentially Godâ€™s ways. As they identify good leadership practices, they often express insight that is of great value also to shepherds of Godâ€™s people. So why should we be wary?
The context for the management books is entirely different than the Kingdom of God. So their books can be a sort of â€œTrojan horseâ€ by which consumerist attitudes may become more deeply rooted in the Church that is already tempted and diluted by our consumerist environment. Much can be written about that, but here is not the place.
With that caveat in place, I recommend a monograph (originally written as a planned chapter for a new edition of Good to Great but now available as a slim book) by Jim Collins. Good to Great and the Social Sectors contains some clear insights into the principles of leading volunteers. For example:
He explains the way that good leadership differs from the business sector to the voluntary or social sector. In the business sector, he says, great leadership is characterized by, â€œgovernance structure and hierarchy are relatively clear and straightforward, and there is concentrated and clear executive power. The leaders can often substitute the use of power for the practice of leadership.â€
In the social sectors, he describes leadership very differently, â€œGovernment structures often have more components and inherent ambiguity, with more diffuse and less clear executive power. True leadership is more prevalent when defined as getting people to follow when they have the freedom not to.â€
I thought that was a good description of leadership in YWAM.
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