Leadership framework vs pyramid

At the Global Leadership Summit former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina presented a simple leadership framework she has used to help lead people in her organisations. Her framework looks a little something like this:

leadership framework

She begins with vision, strategy, and goals. People need to know where we’re headed and why. Second she talked about organisation/team/structure/process – the who, what and how of implementing the vision/strategy. Third she talked about the importance of having some metrics – people know what you value by what you measure. Fourth she spoke of the necessity of healthy cultures if people are to flourish in the organisation. Fiorina suggests that you set the framework and set people free to work and use their initiative. It’s a helpful visual tool for thinking about  the various aspects of leadership. I’m not sure though whether it confuses some things which need to be kept distinct. I’m also not sure all of those things are of equal importance.

So I’ve been thinking and reflecting on Carly’s presentation, and have tried to come up with my own version which I think may addresses some of the weaknesses I perceive in her model. Here it is:

leadership pyramid

The most important element is at the bottom – mission. This dictates core values (which should include culture) which in turn shapes a vision. Only then can we move to goals which in turn shape the strategy and structure. Metrics are important, but probably the least important of these elements. Now I don’t know if this is too complex in terms of having too many elements, and I’m not sure I’ve got them in the right order.

But what do you think? I’d love your thoughts and input in how you might do this exercise?

What do you mean by ‘worship’?

worshipIt’s that time of year again when freshers up and down the country visit different churches in order to find somewhere they can settle for their next 3 years. I remember vividly the ‘church search’ and the learned comparisons we used to make between ‘teaching churche’s and ‘worship churches’ – ‘Oh I know the teaching is great at St. What’shisnames, but the worship at RiverLamb’sBlood is just amazing.

And then when I left Uni I was taught that worship was not primarily about singing, but about every element of the church service, and even the whole of life. So in your face ‘worship churches.’ We understand something you clearly don’t.

And then I went back and looked again at the way the Bible uses the word ‘worship.’ There are a number of related Greek terms laid out in Louw-Nida’s Lexicon of semantic domains. These include proskuneo (Matt 2.2), latreuo (Acts 7.7, Heb 9.1), sebomai (Rom 1:25),  sebasma (Acts 17.23), plus a few other less common words or derivatives from those already listed. Each of those terms has a semantic range and the totality of meaning cannot be read into each individual instance (Barr calls this ‘illegitimate totality transfer’). We must resist the temptation to reductionist definitions and allow terms to be defined by their biblical usage. We must embrace the ambiguity of polysemy.

So here’s what I found. By running a Bibleworks search on each term I discovered a range of meanings and dominant usage. The range of meanings include reference to bowing down, veneration, times and places of worship, and an all of life service. Though it has to be said the last of those is not the most common. The dominant usage of the Greek words translated ‘worship’ is to do with specific action – namely prostration before an individual, idol, angels, demons, or God. Here’s what I think all of this means for our contemporary use of the word ‘worship.’

When a church says ‘let’s have a time of worship’ (by which they mean singing, praying, and spoken praise) that is a biblical usage of the term (Rev 4-5; 19). And when a church affirms that the whole service/time of gathering is an act of worship they are using the word in one of its biblical senses (Jn 12.20; Acts 24.11). And when a church encourages us to see our whole lives as worship they too are using the word biblically (Jn 4.23; Rom 1.9; 12.1; 2 Tim 1.3). All three are right, but the best approach would be to use the word ‘worship’ to refer to all three of those things, for then we preserve the lexical wealth of the term.

If you want to see some of this stuff expressed much better and more thoroughly read David Peterson’s Engaging With God: A Biblical Theology of Worship.

Do you want to be better relationally?

Picture2On Tuesday I did a post about how to develop task and people skills, and the importance of both. Today I want to develop the people side a bit more. A colleague introduced me to this helpful grid as a guide to interpersonal transaction. It’s called the ‘Johari Window’ – named after the two people who came up with it – Jo and Harry – no joke!

The diagram illustrates that in any transaction there are a number of things going on at the level of that which is revealed and concealed. So there will be things out in the open – common knowledge; there are some things that neither of us knows – because they haven’t happened yet or aren’t in the public domain; there are some things that I know that you don’t – maybe in regards to a situation or another person; and there will be things you know that I don’t.

It’s these latter two which I think are so important. It’s easy to fly off the handle at someone for failing to carry out a task whilst being completely unaware of a traumatic family situation they are going through. Similarly confidentiality means sometimes we’ll take the rap for something that isn’t quite our fault but we can’t divulge details to others. The lesson is always to seek to broaden the ‘open’ area of knowledge, as far as possible, whilst being aware that there will always be things, on both sides, that we don’t or can’t know. A bit more understanding and sensitivity in this area would go a long way to removing much relational tension in our communities.

Are you a ‘task’ or ‘people’ person?

Picture1My boss reminded me of this diagram recently, as a gentle encouragement to think about the pros and cons of my own personal bias. The diagram represents the relationship between the functional and the relational and suggests that good leaders have both in their locker.

The bottom left corner is where no-one wants to be – not good at the task in hand, and not good at relating to people. We all know ’em. We don’t want to be ’em. Bottom right are people who are great relationally but not so good at getting things done. People love hanging round with these folks and their relational strength covers their task weakness, for a while at least. Top left are people who are great on task but will manipulate, steam-roller, use and abuse people in service of the task. When the task is done or the person is expendable they’re history. Think Gordon Ramsay or Alan Sugar. Efficient – yes. Popular – often not. Staff turnover will be high under this type of person. Top right is where we aspire to be – good on task and good with people. Not easily done as most of us will naturally bias one way or the other. I know my bias is toward task and I have to work extra hard not to see people as tools for my task.

So what can you do. Well, if you associate with bottom right perhaps start to get serious with your schedule. Block out time to work on tasks, to plan, to strategise, to read etc. Your temptation will be to pop in on that person or meet for a coffee. Take charge of your schedule and discipline yourself toward task. If you can (like me) associate with top left then you’re already good at scheduling – so schedule in time with people. Meet people for lunch at their place of work and listen to what life is like for them – with no agenda. Invite people round for Sunday lunch – with no agenda! Ask some guys to watch the footy with you  – with no agenda! Find ways to connect personally to demonstrate that you really do value people – you’re just not that great at showing it all the time.

The greatest ever leader once challenged a ‘high task’ guy with these words ‘Peter, feed my lambs.’ Two important insights from that: it’s not my task and they’re not my lambs – its an entrusted stewardship and as such, both the task and the people matter greatly.

Abraham Was A Baptist!

ms@jocdg (2)Last month I had the privilege of doing a debate with David Gibson at the John Owen Conference. The conference theme for the year was ‘Abraham’ and the debate considered the place of Abraham in Reformed paedobaptist and Reformed baptist theology. It was great to be part of. David is an absolute gem – both a gentleman and a scholar. We’re hoping to publish our respective papers in Themelios next spring, but for now you can get the audio of the debate here at the John Owen Centre webpage.

Your Inner Negotiators











I attended a day of the Global Leadership Summit last Friday and, as per usual, found it immensely helpful and profitable. I’ll be sharing some of the insights over the next few posts.

This time I’d like to introduce you to Erica Ariel Fox. She’s written a book called Winning from Within which is concerned with addressing your own ‘inner negotiators’ – those things that make you tick. She argues that most of us have four as follows:

  1. Dreamer – looking toward a vision of a preferred future
  2. Thinker – analyzing, considering facts and data
  3. Love – emotional, relational, needs to feel valued
  4. Warrior – action orientated, gets stuff done

Fox argues that there’s something of each one in all of us though for most one or two will be particularly dominant. Her insights are useful not just for ourselves but for thinking about how we interact with others. What is someone else’s dominant negotiator? Does that change the way you interact with them? I think there’s an application to preachers as well here. Given there will be different personalities listening each week we need to try and hit each of these when we speak – the dreamer, thinker, lover, and warrior.

I’ve been prodded to think more about this stuff again recently. Later in the week I’ll develop some of this stuff in a more personal direction. For now, you can get Erica’s book here.

A Couple of Useful Resources

shareSometimes (often-times) good blogging is about curation rather than creation. That is to say it’s more about sharing good stuff that’s already out there rather than trying to create it. With that in mind here’s a couple of good things that others have put me on to. If you’ve not already seen them, check them out – they’re great:

  1. Monergism.com have put together a list of 150 free ebooks here. Many of them are absolute classics (Augustine, Luther, Warfield etc). You can download them in multiple formats to suit your own personal device usage. And did I mention, they’re FREE!
  2. A friend put me on to an app called ‘Prayermate’ – not particularly new – I’m just slow to catch-up. Tim Challies has a great review of it here. I’ve been using it and finding it extremely useful. If you struggle to order your prayer life why not give it a go?

Any other helpful links or resources out there on the interweb at the moment?

A Tool For Measuring Progress

scalesA friend of mine went to a management conference last week and he shared with me a little of what he learned. One thing which piqued my interest was something called ‘lagging indicators’ and ‘leading indicators’. Now, you management types probably know all about this and are rolling your eyes whilst sighing heavily. But bare with. I think there might be something useful here.

Lagging indicators are easy to measure but hard to influence – they’re the end result of a process – the hard facts. Leading indicators are hard to measure but easy to influence – they are what leads to the final result.

So, the example my friend gave was losing weight. The lagging indicator is what the scales say – they don’t lie. Easy to measure, hard to change (unless you rig the scales, but we all know what the Bible says about unjust scales right!?). The leading indicators might be things like amount of exercise taken, calorific intake etc. Perhaps harder to measure (how many calories exactly are in the pastry you’re eating right now) but much easier to change and influence.

The eureka moment for my friend was when the presenter explained the way most of us measure things. We look at lagging indicators, scratch our heads, loosen the tie, then fire someone (at least that’s how I imagine it goes). But do we pay sufficient attention to the leading indicators. Someone says ‘Oh, I didn’t get time to look into that thing – I was too busy.’ Normally we let it go – it’s no big deal. But failure to get tough on leading indicators (things you can change) will mean you won’t significantly effect what comes out the other end – the lagging indicator (the thing you can’t change).

Now what does all this mean for church leaders. It means we probably need to identify what we’d like our lagging indicators to be (e.g. number of 1-2-1’s happening, %small group attendance, number we’d like to see do Explore etc) and start doing some reverse engineering. What are the leading indicators that can help influence the lagging indicator? Of course lots of this is providentially ordered, but let’s not forget God delights to use ordinary means and ordinary people. So why don’t you sit down with those pet lagging indicators you love to scrutinize and start to think about the leading indicators which influence them.

Is Grace Irresistible?

batfinkIrresistible Grace – the 4th point of TULIP – the standard for the serious Calvinist. To be clear I’m persuaded that Reformed theology gives the best account of the Bible’s teaching on soteriology. So this post isn’t a foray into Calvinist bashing. But it is to observe the level of nuance the Reformers had that so many of us (myself included) often lack.

I’ve been revising some stuff on pneumatology for some seminars I’m doing and have had as my guide the great Bat-Fink (Herman Bavinck) and his Reformed Dogmatics. In vol 4, pages 80-82, he outlines the debate that went on between the Remonstrants and the Reformers on the issue of the ‘immediate and irresistible’ work of the Spirit. Here’s how he outlines the issues:

1. Remonstrants: The working of God’s Spirit is a purely moral one, a working whose fruit is dependent on human assent and compliance.
Reformers: No, God’s Spirit itself directly enters the human heart and with infallible certainty brings about regeneration.

2. Cameron and the theologians of Saumur: The Spirit enlightens the intellect which then impacts the will to respond.
Reformers: No. The Spirit has an immediate operation on both the will and the intellect.

So far, so Calvinist, but note the distinction in the next section:

3. Rome (Trent): “neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, foreasmuch as he is also able to reject it”
Reformers: Dislike the term ‘irresistable’ and prefer the term ‘efficacious.’ Why? Because the Reformers said that ‘grace is often and indeed always resisted by the unregenerate person and therefore could be resisted . . . the point of the disagreement, accordingly was not whether humans continually resisted and could resist God’s grace, but whether they could ultimately – at the specific moment in which God wanted to regenerate them and work his efficacious grace in their heart – still reject that grace.’ This last point they’d deny. And I’d agree. But the distinction is worth noting – can people resist grace? Yes, they often do. Can they resist when God intends to regenerate? No, his work is immediate and irresistable.

As my systematics teacher taught us, sometimes, the most important word in careful and precise theological formulation is ‘distinguo.’