How to See Beyond Today: Acknowledge the Paradox of Expertise

It has been said that all leaders live under the same sky, but not all view the same horizon. Some leaders see a wider horizon and keep their eye on the emerging skyline. Continual learning contributes to their sense of adventure and their ability to steer their organization. Others, however, unknowingly wear blinders. The shifting horizons don’t signal new opportunities because they are unanticipated and out of view.

In this sense, strategic planning is often limited because it keeps blinders on leadership. Auxano founder Will Mancini calls this “fallacy of predictability.” The assumption is that the near future will resemble the recent past. But rapid cultural change has meddled with this assumption. Change now happens so fast that the planning processes of yesteryear are obsolete. Unfortunately, not even the future is what it used to be.

If the North American church is going to avoid the slow but sure death guaranteed by “we’ve always done it that way,” it will have to shift its understanding of both the past that was and the future that is not going to be more of the same.

According to Reggie McNeal, the churches that prepare for the new world will ride the wave of the growth that is possible. Those who don’t prepare will continue to plan their way into cultural irrelevance, methodological obsolescence, and missional ineffectiveness in terms of being kingdom outposts.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Simply Brilliant by William C. Taylor

Far away from Silicon Valley, in familiar, traditional, even unglamorous fields, ordinary people are unleashing extraordinary advances that amaze customers, energize employees, and create huge economic value. Their secret? They understand that the work of inventing the future doesn’t just belong to geeks designing mobile apps and virtual-reality headsets, or to social-media entrepreneurs hoping to launch the next Facebook. Some of today’s most compelling organizations are doing brilliant things in simple settings such as retail banks, office cleaning companies, department stores, small hospitals, and auto dealerships.

William C. Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company and best-selling author of Practically Radical, traveled thousands of miles to visit these hotbeds of simple brilliance and unearth the principles and practices behind their success. He offers fascinating case studies and powerful lessons that you can apply to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways, regardless of your industry or profession.

As Taylor writes: “The story of this book, its message for leaders who aim to do something important and build something great, is both simple and subversive: In a time of wrenching disruptions and exhilarating advances, of unrelenting turmoil and unlimited promise, the future is open to everybody. The thrill of breakthrough creativity and breakaway performance . . . can be summoned in all sorts of industries and all walks of life, if leaders can reimagine what’s possible in their fields.” Simply Brilliant shows you how.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Most artists look for something fresh to paint; frankly I find that quite boring. For me it is much more exciting to find fresh meaning in something familiar. -Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth did not look constantly for fresh things to paint; rather, he was excited to find fresh meaning in things that were familiar. The beginning point in ascertaining vision is nothing less than the work of scrutinizing the obvious. 

This represents a paradigm shift for leaders. Many leaders see what is, and accept it without looking for deeper or newer meanings. When leaders are “successful” at something, the tendency is to move on to the next thing. After all, you don’t mess with success.

Expertise is powerful…until it gets in the way of innovation. In a world being remade before our eyes, leaders who make a big difference are the ones who challenge the logic of their field – and of their own success.

One of the sobering lessons of the great transformations in business, leadership, and society in the last few decades is that the people and organizations with the most experience, knowledge, and resources in a particular field are often the last ones to see and seize opportunities for something dramatically new.

The storyline has become so familiar that the questions almost answer themselves: All too often, what we know limits what we can imagine.

Cynthia Barton Rabe, a former innovation strategist at Intel, coined a memorable term to describe this debilitating form of strategic blindness. Too may companies and leaders, often the best companies and most successful leaders, struggle with what she calls the “paradox of expertise” – the frustrating reality that the more deeply immersed you are in a market, a product category, or a technology, the harder it becomes to open your mind to new models that may reshape everything. Past results may not be the enemy of subsequent breakthroughs, but they can constrain the capacity to grasp the future.

In other words, the more closely you’ve looked at the field, and the longer you’ve been looking at it in the same way, the more difficult it can be to see new patterns, prospects, or possibilities.

There is a more sustained way to transcend the paradox of expertise, a mindset that draws on the best of what’s come before without closing off what may come next. It’s called “provocative competence,” and it comes from the world of jazz.

William C. Taylor, Simply Brilliant

A NEXT STEP

In his captivating book “Yes to the Mess,” Frank J. Barrett combines his accomplishment as a jazz musician with a background in teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School. In drawing all sorts of leadership lessons from jazz, Barrett states that so-so musicians allow themselves to fall into the competency trap by “relying on licks that have been greeted enthusiastically in past performances, to become in effect imitations of themselves.”

Great musicians manage to “outwit their learned habits by putting themselves in unfamiliar musical situations demanding novel responses.” According to Barrett, provocative competence is “leadership that enlivens activity and rouses the mind to life.”

In jazz, as well as on your church team, we need leaders who do this—men and women who support imaginative leaps, who can create a context that enhances creative possibilities and triggers glimpses, sudden insights, bold speculation, imaginative ventures, and a willingness (even an insistence) that people explore new possibilities before there is certainty and before they fully comprehend the meaning of what they are doing.

Schedule a future team meeting and walk through the five elements of “provocative competence” by discussing the following:

  • Provocative competence is an affirmative move. The leader must first hold a positive image of what others are capable of. This often means seeing other people’s strengths better than they see their own strengths. It’s important to create a holding culture, an environment that provides enough stability and reassurance so that people know there is a safety net, someone to watch their backs as they branch out.
  • Provocative competence involves introducing a small disruption to routine. It is an art to introduce just enough unusual material or thought that it engages people to be mindful – to pay attention in new ways. Timing is critical: Too much disruption on a regular basis will cause it to soon be ignored; too little would seem to be just a stunt.
  • Provocative competence creates situations that demand activity. Leaders push their teams to try and try again to keep trying and discovering as they go. There’s not “sitting this one out” or taking a break to figure everything out.
  • Provocative competence facilitates incremental reorientation by encouraging repetition. Think of it as a comfort zone – but not one that is too comfortable. Even while people are leaning on old habits, they have to attend to new options, and start to manage and process information within a newer, broader context.
  • Provocative competence is analogic sharpening of perspectives and thought processes. Your team should start to make parallel links with seemingly unrelated contexts and see linkages between seemingly disparate ideas.

Saying, “yes to the mess” means finding affirmation in the best of what already exists. Every group, every individual has some strength, some moment of exceptional performance that has the potential to make a difference at some point. Truly gifted leaders—those who practice and exhibit provocative competence—are able to uncover this potential even when it is well hidden, even when the individuals in question can’t see it in themselves.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 110-2, released January 2019


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

>> Purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix<<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Hopes for the Future Church

There is a rising tide that the Church has lost its edge, and for some, even lost its way. In some cases, there is truth to that. But ultimately, the general conclusion cannot be that the Church is irrelevant.

I know the “irrelevant” message can be discouraging to so many of you who serve your church in positions of leadership. This post will encourage you and provide positive direction.

The Church was never meant to remain the same; change is part of its design.

As the Church changes, largely to adapt to the shifts in culture, it’s vital that we stay focused on the original purpose of the Church.

“His [God] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ephesians 3:10-11

This article is not written as a position of defense. It’s not a “how to” article to fix all the problems. It’s a clear reminder of foundational truths that help us all stay focused no matter the pressure or opposition, and practical helps to keep going.

The Church is a great force for good. The stories of salvation, baptism, and life change worldwide are too numerous to ignore.

Yes, some churches are ineffective, but the most ineffective church is more helpful than the person who does nothing.

Let’s jump into the reasons the church has a promising future.

5 Reasons:

1) An attempt to dismiss the Church is like an attempt to dismiss God.

The Church isn’t a building, and it’s not limited to one day a week. The Church is the Bride of Christ, the people of God, destined for the hope of eternal life.

We are sent out into our communities and the world to make a difference for Christ.

Currently, most churches meet in buildings and on Sunday. That may change, but what God set in motion won’t be dismissed.

In the last few years, there has been a great deal of meaningful and productive conversation about changes to the mega-church and the attractional approach to ministry.

The result has been re-focusing from a church service with an emphasis on drawing the people in to hear the message of the gospel to sending the believers out to share the gospel. It’s not an either or, but the shift is intentional and good.

I’m listening in on what changes smaller churches are anticipating they need to make.

(Leave a comment at the end of this post if you have an insight that may help.)

Regardless of the size of the church, God’s plan is still in full force.

2) The purpose of the church is not yet fulfilled.

The New Testament makes the mission of the church clear. From the well-known
Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 to the passage in Ephesians 3 – I mentioned earlier, the purpose is communicating the gospel and grace of Jesus. With the clear end of making disciples of Christ.

God’s heart has always been for eternal life. For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32

In Gwinnett County (population of just under one million people) where 12Stone’s eight campuses are located, a suburb of Atlanta, hundreds of thousands don’t profess to follow Christ.

What would you estimate that number or percentage to be in your city?

There is much more for us to do. Let’s continue to help our churches get better so we can reach further.

3) The church is imperfect, but not ineffective.

As I talk with leaders across the country, I get to hear incredible stories of transformation and life change. It’s so inspiring.

At 12Stone Church we have begun casting vision for what is next and new — what God has in store for the next couple years.

One element is the transformation of families and how we are elevating Re-Engage, an approximately twenty-week marriage small group based on the gospel.

Each time Pastor Kevin talks about Re-Engage, people can’t hold back. They interrupt and tell their story of a stuck marriage, or one headed toward divorce and how it is now restored, healthy, and growing again!

It’s truly astounding. Transforming families is only one of three areas we believe God is stirring. The other two are transforming souls and transforming communities. The vision is huge and humbling at the same time.

12Stone is an imperfect church that is being used by God to change thousands of lives.

Your church is imperfect too, but no church needs to be ineffective.

Don’t let the difficulties, problems, and setbacks of your church discourage you; they are part of life. The Church has always faced difficulties and solved problems.

Personally, I love solving problems when they are attached to a purpose greater than myself!

This simple plan may be helpful to you:

  1. Be honest about what needs to be improved.
  2. Prioritize the list.
  3. Select the top three problems that must be addressed. (Set the others aside for now.)
  4. Commit to solving those three problems in the next six months. (Or the appropriate time-frame.)
  5. Measure your progress against pre-determined goals and celebrate what God does!

4) People still intuitively head to the church when in need of help.

I briefly mentioned a point similar to this one in a recent article offering seven reasons why I stayed in ministry for thirty-seven years. You can read it here.

Marriage breakdowns, spiritually lost or confused, wanting a positive environment for kids, health concerns, lonely and hungry for meaningful relationships, these are just a few of the reasons why people still seek the church. I meet them every week.

The church, Christianity, or God himself never promises to remove trouble and difficulties from a person’s life, but they do show us a better way to live our lives with resilience and purpose.

5) Personal growth and strategic innovation continue to be objectives church leaders strive for.

The church is never stronger than its leaders.  First, pray for them! Ask God to grant them wisdom, favor, stamina, and clear vision.

The leaders I know are passionate about personal growth; they are truly hungry for it. They change, get better, and increase their capacity to improve the church.

Healthy and growing leaders lead healthy and growing churches.

What is your plan for personal growth?

Healthy and growing leaders are also passionate about innovation. They never settle for the status quo.

Innovation is not about change for the sake of change, and it’s not merely making something different.

Positive innovation embraces practical change that makes a measurable difference directly connected to your vision.

What one or two innovative improvements are you making to your current ministries that will increase the effectiveness of your church? I pray this article encourages your love and commitment to the future of the church.

> Read more from Dan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why Innovation is Not So Innovative

Ever wonder why some leaders hit home runs—or even change the world—and why others don’t?

I wonder about that all the time.

Recently I spent a few days in Silicon Valley, the tech and startup capital of the world—a strip of cities that run between San Francisco and San Jose California.

It was exciting for me. A number of podcasts I listen to are based out of Silicon Valley. For years, I’ve read and listened to stories of entrepreneurs, startups, venture capitalists and bootstrappers who have one thing in common—they live and work in Silicon Valley.

My wife and I roamed through San Francisco, Cupertino and almost everything in between. Our hotel was right on the border of Menlo Park and Palo Alto, literally five minutes from Steve Job’s house. You can’t get further into the heart of Silicon Valley than that.

We ate in restaurants frequented by VCs and entrepreneurs (one turned out to be a place where Tim Ferriss eats) and walked the streets where the founders of Apple, Google, Facebook, Nest, LinkedIn, eBay, Lyft, Uber, Twitter, YouTube, Box, Airbnb and more hang out.

There are lots of theories about why Silicon Valley has been so successful in being a hotbed of innovation (like the ones this HBR article outlines), but what struck me about Silicon Valley was what I didn’t see.

Here are 5 quick and surprising leadership lessons I took away from my weekend in Silicon Valley.

1. Innovation Looks Surprisingly…Normal

I don’t know what I imagined Silicon Valley to look like, but the truth is it looked surprisingly…normal.

I’ve had the privilege of traveling to hundreds of cities and communities across North America and around the world. Silicon Valley didn’t look that different than many other places I’ve visited.

There were relatively normal office buildings that bore unusual names like Nest or Greylock. The buildings weren’t spectacular. What’s happening inside them was.

Ditto for Apple’s current campus. While their new campus looks like a spaceship, their current campus (which they’ll continue to use) is beautiful but not that remarkable.

Palo Alto, Menlo Park or Cupertino are decent places for dinner or hanging out at night, but they’re not that different than many other towns and cities I’ve been in.

Stanford is right next door to many of the startups, as is Berkley. But again, there are hundreds of universities that don’t produce nearly the entrepreneurs that these two schools do in Silicon Valley.

Sometimes as leaders we convince ourselves that we need a better building, a better location, or a better anything to be innovative.

Innovation almost always comes from otherwise normal looking environments.

2. Work Precedes Perk

In a similar way, stories about the perks of working at startups are legendary. Whether it’s gourmet onsite kitchens and chefs, gaming and foosball tables, free gym memberships, stock options or big maternity/paternity benefits, stories abound about how generous Silicon Valley companies are to their employees.

Yet the perks didn’t make any of these companies successful. The work did.

Perks follow work.

In an age of instant entitlement, many of us want the perks without putting in much work.

Apple started in Steve Job’s parents’ garage and Facebook was headquartered out of a dorm room long before anyone got preferred shares or free food. In fact, in the early days of any company or organization, nobody’s thinking about the perks. They’re singularly focused on the work.

Similarly, if you want to make progress, focus on the work, not the perk.

Take it a level further. If you’ve had some success and you’re enjoying a few perks, the best way to kill your future is to focus on the perks and ignore the work ahead.

As soon as you start to love perks more than work, the end is near.

3. Overnight Success Is A Long Night

So what makes startups so successful?

A lot of it is years of hard work before breakthrough. If you look at most leaders and organizations who break through, there’s a relentless pursuit of a goal.

Apple took off in the 70s and 80s, but almost died in the late 90s. Its real breakthrough happened in 2001 and again in 2007 with the introduction of the iPod and iPhone respectively. The iPhone came 31 years after Apple’s founding.

Airbnb went through many incarnations and almost died several times before it reached its tipping point several years after its launch.

It’s easy to dismiss someone as an overnight success. But you’re missing the point.

Most overnight successes are preceded by a very long night.

4. Mindset Matters More Than You Think

I talk to leaders almost every day of my life. One of the things you can spot almost immediately in talking to a leader is their mindset.

One of my favorite quotes of all time on mindset comes from non-Silicon Valley entrepreneur Henry Ford who said: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

What’s prevalent in the Valley is a can-do mindset. It’s populated by people who believe they can make a dent in the universe, that they can disrupt industries, that they can innovate in a way that changes the world.

And as a result, many do.

The mindset goes far beyond initial success.

As we walked around the Apple Campus, I saw a Steve Jobs quote on the wall that demonstrated how he thought about success:

“If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

Convicting.

So, do you think you can or think you can’t? You’re right. (For more on how mindset makes or breaks churches, read this.)

5. Synergy Is A Life-Line

One of the huge advantages to being in Silicon Valley is it surrounds you with innovative people.

Some of the most advanced thinkers on the planet have gathered there, along with creatives, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investors and so many others.

Obviously, this is an incredible incubator for innovation, new ideas and fresh approaches to the problems we face. But it’s deeper than just ideational synergy.

One of the greatest dangers of leadership is isolation.

Innovators tend to be outliers in their denominations, industry or field, and outlier often equals outcast.

It’s critical for innovative thinkers to surround themselves with people who inspire them and challenge them, because normally what happens is your friends and colleagues shoot you down. This is one of the reasons so many denominations and industries are in trouble today: they shoot their innovators.

In many ways, Silicon Valley is the Island of Misfit Toys. Apple’s famous ad makes even more sense when you consider the synergy in the Silicon Valley of people who didn’t fit in elsewhere.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square hole, the ones who see things differently.”

Get enough people around you like that, and not only can you can disrupt the status quo, you probably won’t quit when you’re trying to do it.

Too many leaders quit moments before their critical breakthrough. If you surround yourself with support, you’re far less likely to do that.

What Do You See?

Have you been to Silicon Valley or read up on it?

What do you see?

> Read more from Carey.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to North American and global church leaders about change, leadership, and parenting.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Does Your Church Possess the Right Skills to Take on Tomorrow?

Over a decade and a half into the 21st century, one thing has become clear: change is the new normal.

In business, it’s called innovation, and it’s a strategic pillar in nearly every organization. Thanks to a growing body of research and thought leadership in recent years, we’re learning a great deal about the individual skill sets behind innovation, and the organizational strategies that create disruptive growth. Yet in organizations around the world, well-intentioned innovation initiatives crash and burn, despite a wealth of great ideas, copious research, and well-designed strategies.

Why? Innovation is not just about data analysis, plans and processes, and thinking outside the box. More than anything else, innovation is about change. And the truth is that as much as we’d like to think otherwise, we are all hardwired to resist it.

Your “innovation initiatives” are no exception to this rule. People are tired of being asked to change and innovate. It’s become a dirty word inside organizations, because it usually heralds one more complicated system to learn, or more things to add to the daily to-do list. Call a big meeting to kick off another “change initiative” and just about the whole team will roll their eyes.

They know that next year more changes will be implemented, because the last change initiative didn’t change a thing for the better, or the execs that start the initiative won’t be there in a year, and the next leadership team will roll out yet another initiative.

That cycle stops here. Despite the grumbling, eye rolling, and resistance, change is an absolute imperative for organizations today. Innovation is not only about finding new growth opportunities and improving the bottom line. It’s about developing services, solutions, and ideas that improve people’s lives, and the world in which we live. This is what the greatest organizations – and individuals -strive to achieve.

So, what can we do to make change stick?

Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of futurethink, an internationally recognized innovation research and training firm, believes that anyone can be innovative, and everyone can become an agent for change. Futurethink helps organizations—from Fortune 500 companies to boutique firms—create environments where innovation and change thrive naturally. Working with these companies has given futurethink a chance to experiment with ideas about what it takes to build innovation capabilities in organizations, and then test-drive specific tools and exercises to make it happen.

According to Bodell, one of the things that she’s learned along the way is that when it comes to change, an organization’s biggest enemy is itself.

Before you jump in and start trying to shake things up, it’s helpful to gauge how open to change you—your organization, your team, or you as an individual—are today.

  • Is your culture as a whole stifling innovation, or will just a small tweak here and there get your cylinders firing wildly again?
  • Does your organization possess the right skills to take on tomorrow?
  • Does it embrace the behaviors necessary to create a culture that incubates innovation and generates growth over the long term?
  • What skills and behaviors do you already possess and where can you improve?

You can take stock of your innovation situation by taking the futurethink Innovation Capabilities Diagnostic, available in the download below.

This Innovation Diagnostic will help you get a feel for how fertile the ground is for innovation in your organization. With a general idea of where your organization could improve, you’re well on your way to examining the many ways you can begin to inspire innovation at your organization, and ensure that – this time – the changes will stick.

>> Download How to Make Change Stick by Lisa Bodell here.

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Would you like to learn more about developing an intentional strategy to help your organization deal with change? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Bodell

Lisa Bodell is the author of Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution (Bibliomotion). As founder and CEO of futurethink, an internationally recognized innovation research and training firm, Bodell believes that everyone has the power to innovate; they just need to know how. As a leading innovator and trainer, she has devised training programs for companies such as 3M, GE, and Johnson & Johnson. Learn more and keep up with her online at www.KillTheCompany.com.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Recharge: 7 Ways to Improve Innovative Thinking

In this volatile world the old model of process innovation needs a new framework. It isn’t in sync with the way our minds work, which brain research tells us is more serendipitous than linear.

Innovation just doesn’t lend itself to being predictable and risk free. Innovation demands looking at the world differently, and finding connections between seemingly disconnected things.

Corporate protocol, management hierarchies, and rigid assumptions about people’s needs often create anxiety and stifle freedom of thought and exploration.

It’s surprising that we repeat things in business even when we don’t get the results we want, but we’re creatures of habit and old habits are hard to break. Changing a routine takes time and thought out of our busy work lives and there is a risk in trying something new. Even something that is simple and accessible and that has an obvious benefit doesn’t always go over right away.

It’s time for a change.

Endorse unexpected questions. Challenge existing assumptions. It’s better in the long run to have a hunch that something might work and try it out than it is to declare “I know this will work” and invest in proving it. Make sure people are out in the field with customers seeing how they use things, seeing what fails, getting their hands dirty. The process is non-linear and, yes, chaotic.

Here is your opportunity to completely recharge innovative thinking within your organization, while at the same time halting the vicious cycle of failure. There are 7 surprisingly simple things you can do right now to ignite your thinking, invigorate existing ideas, and boost productivity.

If organizations want to innovate the way successful bold newcomers have, they have to unplug from the constraints of “That’s the way we’ve always done it” and recharge, starting with the mantra, “Let’s just not do that anymore.  – Debra Kaye

 

>> Download 7 Ways to Improve Innovative Thinking here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debra Kaye

Debra Kaye is an international innovation consultant specializing in brand and culture strategy for consumer businesses. Her clients have included Apple, Mars, Colgate, McDonald’s, American Express, Kimberly-Clark and many more. A frequent commentator on American Public Radio’s “Marketplace” and contributor to Fast Company, Kaye is a partner at the innovation consultancy Lucule and former CEO of TBWA\Italy.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Four Rules of Thumb to Get You Started Toward Ministry Innovation

Solving a difficult ministry challenge requires imagination, focus, endurance, and a tolerance for failure, to name but a few key ingredients. However, the real secret behind delivering world-class ministry innovation actually depends on what we lack rather than what we have.

Here are four memorable little rules of thumb aimed to help guide your decision making as you address ministry and organizational challenges alike.

>> If the schedule gets longer, you’re doing it wrong-er.

It turns out delaying a project’s delivery date in response to difficulty is a demonstrably ineffective problem-solving technique, to say nothing of being inefficient.

>> The more you delay, the more you will pay.

Long timelines expose projects to more changes than short timelines. Technologies change, markets change and economic situations change. Responding to these changes can be expensive, not only in terms of dollars but also in the amount of intellectual investment required.

>> The smaller the crew, the more you can do.

One of the best ways to unleash talent is to not have too much of it. That is, a small team of talented people will generally outperform a larger group of similarly skilled people, because the members of the smaller group have a greater personal investment in the outcome and thus apply their talents more effectively.

>> A simpler design will work just fine.

Generally speaking, complexity is not a sign of sophistication. Simplicity is. Increases to complexity therefore should be approached with caution.

The good news is that you have an alternative. It genuinely is possible to be fast, inexpensive, restrained, and elegant. When you put those pieces together, you just might discover you are capable of producing something amazing.

Author Dan Ward calls this approach the F.I.R.E. method, and it’s the subject of his recent book F.I.R.E.: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation.

F.I.R.E. presents and analyzes a wide range of rapid, thrifty innovation stories, including both successes and failures, and shows how focusing on speed, thrift, simplicity and restraint helps foster creativity.

The foundational lesson is that people who produce breakthrough results often pursue and embrace limited resources and have a low tolerance for complexity.

>> Download a brief manifesto about all of the F.I.R.E. concepts here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Ministry Success is a Moving Target You Have to Hit Again and Again

We live in a time of brutal competition.

Fickle consumer trends, friction-free markets, and political unrest threaten the existence of many organizations.

Nearly every industry is in the midst of massive upheaval, with the old stalwarts falling quickly to the new breed of innovators. Dizzying speed, exponential complexity, and mind-numbing technology advances exacerbate the challenges we face as leaders.

With threats like these racing toward you, how do you react? Do you stand frozen in place with fear and anxiety? Or do you leap into action, finding a new and better way forward? Renegade leaders choose to upset the status quo long before there’s a need to do so. Instead of losing ground, these innovators are accomplishing dramatic growth and spurring tremendous economic gain.

Organizations, communities, and individuals fall for many reasons, but one of the most common – and easily avoidable – is the failure to reinvent.

Those who feel the most secure in the status quo are in fact the most vulnerable. Many organizations, once great, wither and die as a direct result of their deep entrenchment in the past. They discover too late that success isn’t about cracking the code once and then enjoying the spoils forever.

The road to ministry success is a moving target that we have to hit again and again. The disruption of ongoing innovation eventually topples any organization that fails to keep moving—to reinvent.

The good news about reinvention is that you don’t need magic, genius, good looks, or vaults of cash to transform your organization. The required elements are open-mindedness, courage, and imagination. Unleashing your imagination is no longer optional. It will, in fact, become the lifeblood of your success.

While the times may be challenging, we’re living in a world of endless possibility. You get to write the script of your own screenplay, paint your own masterpiece.

Take personal responsibility for the outcomes you desire and then proceed with passion and conviction. Now is the time to choose:

  • New ideas over old ones
  • Abundance over scarcity
  • Fresh thinking over conventional wisdom
  • Innovation over stagnation
  • Growth over protection
  • Exploration over fear
  • Your dream over someone else’s

Your full potential awaits. Retool. Reimagine. Rework. Rebuild. Recreate. Reestablish. Relaunch. Rekindle. Renew. Rejoice.

 Reinvent. 

>> Download a summary of Josh Linker’s The Road to Reinvention here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Skills for Discovering Creative Ideas

Consider the talents of the following two groups who were asked these three questions:

  • How many of you are good singers?
  • How many of you are good dancers?
  • How many of you are good artists?

About 2 percent of the first group responded positively to each of these three questions. That’s a typical response of most leadership teams.

But it’s possible to find a second group in almost any community who would give nearly 100 percent positive responses. Surprised?

Ask any group of first graders these three questions, and the children will respond with an enthusiastic “Yes!” to each one.

All children are creative – they’re born that way!

What happened to the creative gene that was so alive in our childhoods?

It would seem that as we leave childhood, we stop believing in the power of dreams. We stop taking risks and pursuing ideas.

It’s time to recover the creativity of a child – but in an adult way.

Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desai, writing for HBR.org, suggest five power skills to help you rediscover creativity:

  1. Develop Creative Discontent. The best intrapreneurs are never satisfied with the status quo; they ask big questions and challenge themselves and others to find big ideas.
  2. Use Convergence Thinking. Convergence is not simply about combining ideas and technology; it is a primary leadership competency that allows organizations to design the right future.
  3. Find Pivots. Change creates opportunities for innovation, and if the amount of change is disproportionate in size, there is opportunity for movement in a completely new direction — a pivot.
  4. Overturn Orthodoxies. Challenging orthodoxies can provide clarity on existing paradigms worth changing to improve your business model, products, services, processes, customer experience, or brand.
  5. Think Frugally. The primary driver of frugal thinking is scarcity of time and resources. Frugal thinking forces individuals to be highly creative just to accomplish routine jobs.

Teach these five power skills to the leaders and top talent in your organization. They can help keep your innovation pipeline full. By practicing these skills, your team will improve critical and creative thinking skills, leading to many game‐changing opportunities for your organization.

>> For additional help in creating innovative ideas, download our free Sums book summary on “The Ten Faces of Innovation” here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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COMMENTS

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pastorjameswheeler — 07/16/14 9:43 am

Pushing to pursue big questions and big ideas consistently - self imposing scarcity is a hugely underestimated asset in leadership today. Thanks for getting the word out on these!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Kill Status Quo: How to Ask Better Questions

Hulu, iPhone, and Prius didn’t come to market because their creators asked status quo questions. They didn’t happen because somebody began a meeting with “Who has an idea for improving the industry?” or “How are we going to increase sales?” Those innovations exist because disruptive, transformative, even uncomfortable questions without easy answers were asked.

Through years of working with the world’s leading companies, I’ve witnessed a direct relationship between provocative inquiry and innovation. Teams that ask the hard questions prevent early conclusions: the simple act of inquiry provokes new thinking and has the power to challenge long-held assumptions that create real change.

So what do disruptive questions look and sound like? They usually begin with “how,” “which,” “why” or “if” and are specific without limiting imagination. They focus on generating solutions rather than begging long-winded explanations and place blame, as often-asked ‘close-ended’ questions always do. They awaken the mind rather than put it to sleep. To illustrate, a provocative version of “Who has an idea for improving our product/service?” would be “If we hosted a forum called ‘How Our Products & Services Suck,’ what topics would be on the main stage?” An equally effective version is “Which two things could our competitors do to render our product/services irrelevant?”

I witnessed this approach in action during an annual strategic planning meeting for a global pharmaceutical corporation. A few of the company’s major drugs were going off-patent, and every part of the organization was under pressure to innovate. When the corporate strategy team was invited to join the product team’s brainstorm session, they brought some unexpected questions to the table:

• What are the unshakable industry beliefs about what customers want? What if the opposite was true?
• If you were CEO for one day, which three things would you change to enable growth of our brands?
• How can we make our product- and service-chain more responsive to demand fluctuations?

No one from the product division answered immediately. People were visibly uncomfortable, but slightly excited. Yet by day’s end, this planning session became one of their most productive. Where previous annual planning meetings yielded 20 to 30 good ideas, this one resulted in over 100. When teams are encouraged—or forced—to question assumptions, their ideas often exceed expectation in number and creativity.

While it’s not unusual for the product and strategy teams to collaborate, consider querying less conventional audiences. Prospective hires, vendors, former customers, and ex-employees can provide unique and valuable perspectives on your organization. Without the constraints of groupthink and politesse, provocative inquiry can pave a short path toward innovation.

When posing disruptive questions to employees, some leaders prefer to start a meeting immediately with one to set the tone, while others hold back until a brainstorm sputters and stalls. Milder approaches include emailing questions to participants in advance of a meeting or creating an online questionnaire where anonymity is assured. And among the hundreds of provocative questions I’ve heard, the following queries have been known to suck the status quo out of any room:

1. If you could only work on one project for a year to transform the business, what would it be and why?

2. What is the shortest path to the customer? How could we get there in 6 months?

3. What suffers more breakdowns: our products, our processes, or our people? How could we fix this?

4. It’s 2025 and we’re the best company to work for in the world: What two things did we do to earn this award?

5. Which parts of your job would you like to kill or eliminate?

6. What would our dream testimonial from a customer say?

7. What can we offer for free that no one else does?

8. You’ve just written a tell-all book about this company: Which secrets does it reveal?

9. How can our services be turned into physical products? How can our products be turned into a service?

10. If we could hire five more people, what unconventional skills would they have and why?
This type of questioning possesses the power to transform brands and entire industries. When you apply provocative inquiry to every corner of your business, there will be a collective ripple of unease.

Embrace it: this is how status-quo busting happens, and what an innovation opportunity looks and sounds like.

Read more from Lisa here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Bodell

Lisa Bodell is the author of Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution (Bibliomotion). As founder and CEO of futurethink, an internationally recognized innovation research and training firm, Bodell believes that everyone has the power to innovate; they just need to know how. As a leading innovator and trainer, she has devised training programs for companies such as 3M, GE, and Johnson & Johnson. Learn more and keep up with her online at www.KillTheCompany.com.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Tradition Prefers Failure to Innovation

I remember the first time I heard of IDEO – a famous firm that seemingly few have heard about – a company that helps others innovate. It was at a company meeting with Fellowship Technologies where CEO Jeff Hook was inspiring us to help innovate in the church market. I was surprised at the number of products that we use today were actually birthed at IDEO on behalf of the company that gets all the credit. Notable examples are Apple’s first mouse, Microsoft’s second mouse, and the Palm V PDA. Major clients have included Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Eli Lilly, Ford, and Steelcase.

What struck me most about them was that they’re not an invention firm, but an innovation firm.

I think innovation is the art and science of taking something that exists and improving on it in a significant way. This, of course, has huge implications for local churches, who have the timeless message that never changes but innumerable methods for applying that message to culture. Where I think churches trip up along this journey is when traditions become more important than the teachings from the text.

Traditions begin as personal preferences. I made this simple statement in a blog a couple of weeks ago:

I have preferences. We all do. Some of these preferences have meaning to us, so we create a consistent pattern around them. Before you know it, we’ve told others how to operate within our preferences. One step removed from us, what was once a preference is now a tradition. I think traditions are a lot like money: they’re neither good nor bad – it’s all about how you approach it. If a tradition gets in the way of loving people, it’s a clear sign that the tradition has to change or go.”

It is my personal experience and opinion that the main reason mainline churches are failing and dying is because they’re holding onto denominational or local traditions at the expense of connecting culturally with their communities. Further, they hardly ever bother to acknowledge the other Christian denominations (or non-denominational churches) in any of their community efforts. Even in (perhaps especially in?) small town, rural settings, the row of various churches along main street fight to keep their own and avoid being associated with – much less collaborating with – these other faithful flocks. Even Jesus himself said “if they’re not against us, they’re for us”.

Traditions are powerful and can be helpful – as long as they follow the heart of the Father and not merely the letter of the law. I do not believe traditions are inherently bad, but the very nature of perpetuating traditions eschews innovation. We live in a time when change is constant and communication is real-time. At what point can a tradition offer itself on the altar and die to facilitate needed innovation?

Our culture is moving on. Perhaps for the sake of the Gospel we can move on and innovate, too.

QUESTION: Is tradition really in the way of innovation? What say you?

Read more from Anthony here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Coppedge

Anthony Coppedge

On the team at Auxano. Lover of Jesus, my wife and my kids. Unapologetic Apple fanboy. Slightly addicted to MindMaps, but in a good way.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.