I can’t remember how many times people have come into my office with a complaint or another bright idea—that would be a pile of work waiting for someone to come along and do. I suspect you “the leader” have had the same experience as well. I was always delighted when a person would come to me and say, “I’ve noticed a problem or opportunity and here is how I and my team are proceeding to find a solution.” Yes, that is what I loved to see, but the real question might be, “Is the culture of your organization conducive to allowing people to solve problems with new ideas and are you willing to bring them into the mainstream processes of your corporation, ministry, or military organization?” What I have found is that many organizations that have a group of people on the inside calling all the shots, suffer from “the not invented here syndrome.” And believe me, that can become the downfall of your organization where staying a step ahead of the competition requires the best of all your people and to have a culture contrary to that notion is to put all the responsibility on the shoulders of you “the leader,” and eventually you’ll no longer be able to bear the burden and you will fail.
The companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Federal Express, and others have something in common; they’re not afraid to let their people run with new ideas and they are not afraid of failure. This does not mean they don’t have tightly controlled processes, but they are not afraid to try new ideas.
In the early 1980s, I used to serve in one of the most cutting-edge military organizations in the world and we had a very specialized communications unit. Our commander was not afraid to provide a young Non-Commission Officer with a fairly large amount of money (with proper accountability) to go to a local electronics store or order through the supply chain whatever was necessary to locally manufacture a new communications capability. Before the rest of the world knew what satellite communications were, our organization had satcom on all its aircraft and could move data completely around the world via mobile satellite ground stations. That would be a radio operator with a satcom transceiver on his back. We had the most capable and covert mobile communications of any military unit in the world. Did we fail sometimes? Sure. But did we encourage creativity, absolutely and it paid off in combat.
I have also found that organizations that have the most difficult time allowing others into the process are churches. Yes, they may have the latest sound equipment, the worship music may be of the latest style, and pastors may wear the latest casual clothes to the point of almost being in uniform, but have they lost their constituents in the true meaning of worship? Are the people participants and investors? Churches today that are growing the fastest are those not afraid to allow people to try new ways of communicating the Gospel message provided they do not depart from the truths of God’s Word. They are also the churches that encourage commitment and provide multiple paths in which people can serve in the church and not just be consumers of a church product. Those churches that are bureaucratic and frown on new expressions of serving and worshiping are rapidly growing old. And those churches that do not invest in the generations coming behind and where old people like me do not commit to being “The Elders at the Gate” for that purpose, will cease to exist, and that is a shame because so many people need someone to invite them in, so they can meet THE ONE.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you . . . For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11: 28-30) Is the yoke of your organization or leadership style such that your “yoke is easy and burden light?” Or is your culture so stiff and are those in power so inflexible, that those with the next great ideas and solutions are constrained from making your organization great? If you are in Northwest Florida, come to any one of the four Crosspoint Campuses, and you’ll find an enthusiastic culture that invites people in and worships THE ONE in “spirit and truth” in multiple ways. Come as you are, meet and serve.