November 8, 2008

Organized Abandonment: Drucker Part 2

Drucker asserts that focus is the primary challenge for leading nonprofits. Here are three quotes from Five Questions:

“… the great majority of nonprofits can be graded “C” at best. Not for lack of effort; most of them work very hard. But for lack of focus and lack of tool competency.”

“I advised some close friends of mine, working with the local council of churches, that half of the things they are doing they shouldn’t be doing- not because they are unimportant, but because they’re not needed.”

“It is time for organized abandonment.”

Its amazing how this simple principle can be heard from many great thinkers and displayed by many great organizations. But few find it. What have you abandoned lately for the good of your life or career or organization?

November 5, 2008

Peter Drucker’s Legacy- Part 1

Picture_20I spent the day with 20 other consultants discussing Drucker’s five organizational questions. My favorite part of the day was Bob Buford’s personal thoughts on the life and legacy of Peter Drucker.

Buford’s respect for Drucker is immense. He called him “the smartest human being alive” and described Drucker’s impact in his own life using a parenting metaphor. Bob shared that the consummation of Drucker’s influence could be found in the preface of a book and that the preface is no longer in print. The name of the preface, written in 1974 is “Alternative to Tyranny.” The idea behind the title is that without the social sector- organizations that exist for positive outcomes of life change – we are left with only government and for-profit sectors. The thrust of the preface, according to Buford, is that if these are the only forces at work in society, then tyranny is inevitable. The alternative to tyranny then, is the strengthening of the social sector. The recognition that it is the non-profit world that can uniquely “rescue society” signaled a shift in emphasis and importance of the social sector for Drucker in the last 30 years of his life. It was from this perspective that his friendship with Buford was forged.

Buford noted an important observation that Drucker about the church. Basically, he felt that the emergence of the megachurch at the end of the twentieth century was the most significant development in the social sector.

Here is an interesting Businessweek article on Drucker.

November 3, 2008

The Five Most Important Questions

On Wednesday I will be participating in a unique training experience on “The Drucker 5.” In 1993, Peter Drucker wrote about 5 key assessment questions for non-profits. Recently these questions have been republished in an inspiring tool with multiple contributors. There is some additional info here.
Here are the five questions:
1) What is our mission?
2) Who is our customer?
3) What does the customer value?
4) What are our results?
5) What is our plan?

An interesting side note is that although I was unaware of this content at the time I wrote Church Unique, I too ask five questions as the pathway to ultimate clarity. There is an interesting sense of shared “irreducible minimums” between Drucker’s questions and mine, with mine being more fine-tuned for the local church.

My favorite quote from the book:

“Doesn’t logic tell us that the simple questions should also be easiest to answer? No. Simple questions can be profound and answering them requires us to make stark and honest- and sometimes painful- self assessments. “

November 3, 2008

Church Unique Workshop in St. Louis

I am excited to be doing a Church Unique workshop in St. Louis on thursday this week. My friend at Rusty Lewis at Generis is sponsoring the event. Read my description of the event and if your in the area, sign up here. The workshop is being hosted at Morning Star Church.

I have designed a day experience and discovery guide for the book with the goal of equipping key staff leaders to take the Clarity Challenge- spending one entire day per month for 12 months to work on clarifying vision. The response to the book and workshops have been tremendous, so we will be offering more in 2009.

October 31, 2008

Intention + Mechanism = Results

I spent all day yesterday in a personal coaching session, trying to apply the benefits of the “strategic outsider” (the basis of my life and ministry) to myself. We discussed a principle articulated by Brian Klemmer a leadership development and motivational speaker:

Intention + Mechanism = Results

The thrust of Klemmer’s teaching is that mechanisms are not the challenge with the equation. You can sense this in the title of one of his books: If How-To’s Were Enough We Would All be Skinny, Rich and Happy. Rather, the primary obstacle to getting results is the clarity and intensity of our intention. My favorite quote of the day was, “When the intention is clear, the mechanism will appear.” But my love for this line should not be surprising as a clarity evangelist.