At presbytery this past Saturday I was impressed by the speaker, Bob Burns. He is a part of Covenant Seminary's Center for Ministry Leadership. He gave a lot of high quality information and made some great points along the way. One of the things that caught my attention was his definitions of management and leadership. Management is developing systems and infrastructure for stability. Leadership is giving direction for appropriate change for an organization. I realized as a part of self-examination, I have not developed my gifts in management. I tend to enjoy and often help guide organizations in change. I find that when they need stability, even when I agree that they need stability, I don't know how to organize and develop appropriate systems for that. It is a weakness I intend to work on. My friend Keith is much more talented at developing stable systems and getting things done. He is another leader in our church and I appreciate that talent that he has.
A few years back I read an article in the Harvard Business Review which talked about how some industries are really dependent upon innovation, such as software development, while other industries are better off seeking to do the basics better and better. For instance, the Morton salt might consider from time to time how better to make salt, but by and large, they know what to do; mine, purify, package and distribute salt. If they stray from that, they are probably not doing the right thing in the salt business. So in a church, when do you innovate and when do you seek stability? I think it is important to build good systems and to be innovative. I need to tighten up on the first one and keep the second under control.
I noticed from my time in the Army that a lot of leaders are rewarded for changing things. If they merely manage stability, they are passed over for promotion. However, somethings are just better if a good system is developed and maintained.