Week 25 of 52. Welcome to Drucker Mondays, a 52-week journey through the new book, A Year with Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness, by Joseph A. Maciariello. Each Monday, we'll feature a Drucker fan and his or her favorite snippet from the week's topic. (Subscribe on this page.) Shannon Barnes is our guest writer today.
THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In both our personal lives and the “lives” of our organizations, change is a constant. We likely expect (or better said, allow) change to come from outside the organization (environment, circumstances, etc.).
But one of the often unforeseen and unwelcomed “fruits” of any level of organizational growth/success is the internal changes it demands. These “phase changes,” as Drucker describes them, require a correlating change in the leadership’s skill set and focus.
Leaders must resist holding onto outdated or inadequate organizational forms/norms and recognize that the leadership role (or the executive him/herself) must change. If they won’t or don’t, they risk significantly undermining the organization’s effectiveness or destroying it entirely.
SHANNON BARNES' FAVORITE DRUCKER INSIGHTS from Week 25, pages 191-199:
• “It is not uncommon to see organizations lose their vitality as they grow and age; this loss can be fatal, especially during periods of rapid changes in the environment and in the behavior of their customers.” (page 196)
• “At some point there is a need for a ‘phase change’ in management: the founder either has to become an executive or bring in someone else to run the organization.” (page 192)
• “In my experience with both profit and nonprofit organizations, there are really two problems. One is that the founder refuses to accept the fact that the organization is different. And the other one is that [founders] reject, almost fear, any capable successor.” (page 194)
SHANNON BARNES' COLOR COMMENTARY:
Most of my professional life has been spent in the messy midst of various organizational “phase changes”—planting and establishing a church after college, joining the launch team of a “dot com” in the first booming round of that industry, jumping back into ministry to help a modest church release its gifts and grow (in every way) into its Godly potential, and leading the restructuring of a disorganized manufacturing company.
I have experienced firsthand how radically the leadership needs change as the scale, scope, and maturity of the organization changes.
Now, as a coach and consultant to church/nonprofit leaders engaged in significant mission-driven pursuits, I regularly witness both the leadership challenges faced by executives and boards. Far too many leadership teams fail to develop themselves for “what’s ahead”—choosing instead to remain adequate for “what is” even as the environment changes and, slowly but surely, their effectiveness wanes.
Impacting and effective leaders recognize the need to always be developing their leadership capacities, adjusting their focus, and redefining their roles to meet the future-leaning needs of the organization. And self-aware executives (and pastors, too!) also know when those needs depart from their strengths and abilities, and take action to either strengthen their teams/boards or identify another leader with the skills necessary for the organization’s successful future.
THIS WEEK'S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY SHANNON BARNES:
Shannon D. Barnes is the managing principal of The EDGE Group. He enjoys a long hike, a long dinner, a good book, a great friend, any activity with his five beautiful kids, and every opportunity to help leaders/boards successfully navigate significant periods of mission-driven growth. Follow him on Twitter @ShannonDBarnes.
• Look at your organization’s trends and real outcomes. Is the organization achieving what it should be achieving? Have its work, efficacy, and mission-defined outcomes slowed, flat-lined, or diminished? Does your vision of the future compel changes today?
• Self-assess your leadership capacity and fit. Are you offering the organization the leadership it needs at this time? Are your strengths fully employed? Are you ready to embrace change and willing to offer the leadership the organization needs in the season ahead?
• Find the right tools. Determine action steps. What do you need to read? Who do you need to talk to? Do you need a coach/consultant to help you better focus your role or develop your leadership skill-set? Or do you believe it’s time to use your strengths and skills somewhere else and to allow another godly leader to lead the organization you serve now? If so, who do you need to discuss this with?
On June 29, 2015, John Walling, president and CEO of Christian Community Credit Union, will share his color commentary on Week 26’s topic, “Centralization, Confederation, and Decentralization,” the first of two weeks on “Structuring Your Organization.” (Learn why Rick Warren is not a big fan of "arena-size" churches!)