from Explorer at Leadership Network
Speed Leading: Do You Have What It Takes?
In a new book to be published in September, Geeks and Geezers: How Era,
Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders, authors Warren Bennis and Robert
Thomas explored the qualities of 43 men and women - half of whom are under 35
years old and half of whom are over 70 - who have proven their capacity to lead
with speed. Here are three critical findings on speed leaders.
They thrive in unstructured settings. Organizational theorist Karl Weick
says that such environments require a compass because there are no maps, or all
the relevant ones are hopelessly out of date. When confronted by the messy
or the unfamiliar, the leaders we interviewed exhibited something we call
"ALA," for act, learn, and adapt. Speed leaders experiment in order to
advance knowledge. One leader describes it as constantly being on the
lookout for "things you don't know you don't know.
The ability to thrive in messiness grows out of the leader's belief that they
can learn from a variety of sources.
They lead with a light hand. Ask a speed leader how they lead in
circumstances of rapid change and what comes to mind is the injunction that
riding coaches give: ride with a light hand, neither holding on to the reins
with a death grip nor letting go of them entirely and ceding control to the
horse. Speed leaders are quick to engage the people around them in collaborative
problem solving. At the same time, speed leaders can make tough decisions,
resolve debates quickly, and be directive when
they have to. Here, as with thriving in messiness, self-confidence plays a
prominent role, the product of convictions deeply rooted in values whose
application may be examined but whose core is unalterable.
They gain control over the pace and flow of time. Like master craftsmen,
speed leaders exercise their skill with apparent effortlessness and fluidity.
They learn while others are merely watching or unreflectively doing. This
attribute is probably the most profound differentiator between those who succeed
as speed leaders and those who fail.
Excerpted by permission of Harvard Management Update from "Speed
Leading: Do You Have What It Takes?" by Robert J. Thomas and Warren Bennis,
April, 2002. (C) 2002 by the Harvard Business School Publishing
Corporation; All rights reserved.
To subscribe to Harvard Management Update, call 800.668.6705 or visit www.hbsp.harvard.edu/products/hmu
Explorer is published once a month. It is intended to provide a quick read
of what the scouts (staff, partners, and participants including the readership
of this e-letter) are finding as they look for where God is causing innovation
in the North American church. Explorer was created for church leaders who wanted
to vicariously visit other churches, focus their reading outside their own
discipline, and reflect on how larger trends in the culture might affect their
church. Please send any
comments, ideas about innovative practices or resources, or even article
contributions to email@example.com
We also have two other email publications:
(1) Into Action. Best practices and tools of innovative churches
(2) Church Champs Update. A bi-weekly trend and idea update for teaching
churches, consultants and advanced leaders.
If you find EXPLORER useful, forward it to your friends.
Brad Smith, editor
tip is primarily on recruitment.
organized (has an agenda, stays on task, is able to delegate), allows for
group planning and is intuitive about
and exhorts the gifts of others, also shows appreciation sincerely.
enthusiastic about the task and their own participation in that task. (they
are a servant leader example)
part of the body you are needed. Let
us help you discover your uniqueness and use your gifts in ministry" Gifts
of Grace by Mary Schramm
of Volunteer Management:
3. Job descriptions
* Based on the person's gifts and interests
* Contacted with plenty of lead time
* Develop interest with a positive enthusiastic attitude.
Be excited yourself!
5. Training, teaching
use of gifts and the development of people takes precedence over getting a task
to people why they are being asked. What particular gift do they have for the
and allow people to be creative and develop new areas of ministry.
duty and "I've called everyone" are not good motivators.
work" is part of a broader concept
of lay ministry which involves living our Christian life in various vocations (family, job, community and church)
Accept a "no" graciously from people.
must be presented clearly, honestly and as worthwhile.
want to be involved in meaningful, worthwhile activities. Most volunteers today are not willing to be the "clean up crew"
that does only the mundane work the staff needs done.
must be willing to call people they do not know and warmly included them.
couple other thoughts:
must encourage adequate organization and pre-planning. People are busy and do
not want their time wasted.
does anyone want to be part of a faltering organization. It is important to begin with the positives and build on those.
volunteers express negative attitudes about their work or even joke about being
coaxed or conned into the position, it is less likely people (especially new
people) will want to become involved.
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