This past August, on the annual Perry men’s Canadian fishing trip, my boys and I stumbled into a conversation about other types of fishing – fly, saltwater flats, and deep-sea fishing. We agreed that it would be fun to try these other kinds of fishing in addition to our spin casting (traditional), cold water fishing we do, knowing each type of fishing is capable of catching lots of fish.
Yet the more we discussed the idea of trying these other methods of fishing, the more we realized it might not be as good as it sounds. For example, because of our fishing experience, we understand all too well that to be successful catching fish requires the right equipment, knowledge about the body of water to be fished, a working understanding of the habits of the targeted fish, and, most importantly, having the simple experience gained by hours of actual fishing. Which means, because each one requires its own knowledge, experience and equipment, the additional resources (time and money) needed to be successful would make it impossible to be really good at more than one method of fishing.
So it became apparent in our discussion that spreading our limited resources out to thinly between numerous types of fishing would lead us to not being very good at any of them. As a result we decided our best shot at being really good fishermen was to focus our limited resources on one type of fishing (spin casting, cold water fishing).
Which led me to reflect on just how easy it is for individuals, teams and organizations to be enticed by new and novel strategies and opportunities which promise only to deliver the same results (catching fish) as current methods, without considering the additional resources necessary to pursue these strategies nor the negative impact that a wider focus can have on the current work.
There’s an entire industry dedicated to helping people become leaders and much of it focuses on what I call Personal Leadership. Personal leadership encompasses those character traits and qualities a person needs to have to be an effective leader. This is especially true of the messages from authors and speakers who come at leadership through a Christian perspective.
And it’s obvious why this is the case. Effective, world-changing leadership always begins with the leader. So it follows that helping people think and behave in a way conducive to being a leader is essential. We might even say it’s the first and most important step in leadership development.
Unfortunately leadership development gurus, and leaders themselves, too often stop with personal leadership. This happens because we believe that the most important thing is, well, the only thing. But unfortunately, this is rarely true in life or in leadership.
You see, people who want to be world-changing leaders, can and will only do so by leading others in the context of movements, teams, and organizations. And it’s in these contexts that a leader needs more than just personal leadership qualities. They need, what I call, Organizational Leadership ability.
Organizational Leadership includes those attitudes, perspectives and behaviors that move people from being a group of individuals to becoming a team, from being disorganized and unfocused to becoming aligned and disciplined, from doing a job to making a difference, and from just existing to changing the world.
What does it take to practice Organizational Leadership? It requires leading in four specific and integrated areas:
Each of these areas is critical to creating and leading teams, organizations and movements. In my next two posts I’ll outline their meaning and what it takes to lead in each.
For over twenty years Michael Perry has made it his mission to bring young people closer to Christ through his Bible study publications, his capacity as the President and CEO of SpringHill, and his recent book, Experience = Everything. Over the last fifty years, SpringHill has changed over half a million lives—proving that it is more than just camp, or a place, SpringHill is a transformative experience.