July 17, 2017
We hear a lot about the importance of vision in the leadership world. How to cast it, frame it, communicate it, and even how to engage others with it. As important as vision is, the real metric of success is whether or not you can execute.
I read an article recently that claimed only 8% of leaders had the capacity to cast vision and then be able to execute it. Based on other studies, the greatest challenge most leaders face is in the execution of whatever strategy or goals they have. (The resource I'm introducing has some of the studies I'm alluding to here).
The primary reason execution is fraught with so many minefields is because it is rooted in change. Most of all, behavioural change in people. As a church leader, the importance of understanding and facilitating change in people is an intrinsic part of the faith dynamic.
Regardless, even a church has the challenge of executing its mission, and without a keen understanding of what gives vision legs, we can get caught up in a lot of activity but with little strategic progress. It was one of the dilemmas we were faced with.
As I was researching the problems of executing well and looking for potential systems we could use in our church I came across The 4 Disciplines of Execution, by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling.
It was what I was looking for. It addressed firstly the tensions surrounding the ability to execute well while following up with a four step process for moving any kind of strategic vision forward. The following is a brief overview of the book.
Without getting into much of the book's preamble, two things I can say here is that the book deftly communicated the difficulties of instituting change, especially behavioural change, and recognizing the reality of the whirlwind.
The whirlwind is their terminology for execution's greatest enemy; your day job. What I appreciated about this book was the recognition that a massive amount of energy is spent just managing the day-to-day responsibilities that ironically keep most of us from executing anything new.
In the church world, as with most organizations, the whirlwind is what robs you from achieving many of your goals and aspirations for moving your team forward. If you've ever felt stuck, this may be the resource you've been looking for.
Here is a brief description of the four disciplines.
Focus on the Wildly Important
Acting on Lead Measures
Keeping a Compelling Scorecard
Creating a Cadence of Accountability
There you have it. A summary I hope you find helpful. Our personal venture into the 4DX system (the short form given in the book), is relatively early. The majority of users are in the business category and there are some challenges in the non-profit sector for such a system.
Hopefully as we build this into our church we will do a follow-up post to let you know how it works. For now, if you feel like you're stuck in the mud and looking for a resource to help you with practical insights for moving forward, this just may be what you've been looking for.
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