The Lift Project: Leading for Transformation: The Next 90 Days

As much as I have loved the 7 weeks of my  Leading for Transformation class of the  Lift Project, in many ways the most important part is the next 90 days. As great as it is to learn new principles, even better to learn to apply and live out those principles. The final project for the class is laying out what are my next steps for the next 90 days, and to truly leverage the experience I am thinking day 91 and beyond.

In choosing between the leader’s soul, shaping culture, or developing strategy. I chose to focus on shaping culture. In the spring I took the class on the leader’s soul, and that  helped me to develop those day 91 and beyond habits of  reflecting through a journal, pursuing a life of simplicity, and my favorite of all (though I’m still learning this one) living on Godspeed.

When the new year begins, there will be an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the strategy part of leading for transformation. And though this summer I took a class on shaping culture, I discovered it wasn’t the best time to process what I was learning with my fellow leaders at my church.

The image I took away from shaping culture part of  the class this fall came from Dr. Henry Cloud who compared it to cultivating a garden. In some ways this class has provided a closer look at the condition of the soil, and some initial prep work before the planting begins. In the next 90 days, there will be some seeds that are planted for further growth. 4 in particular will guide my path the next 90 days.

1. Define a Culture of Transformation. Our administrative staff is planning a retreat to work through Mindy Caliguire’s great book, Become like Jesus. Having read it after the Global Leadership Summit, I know that it does a great job on focusing on transformation. Our time away will drill deeper into the questions that are asked and the culture we have as well as the one we believe God seeks to harvest.

2. Clarify the Framework from which I lead. Our lay leadership group is looking at our guiding principles later this month. These boundary principles describe not only our mission,but also our culture and  the rules I am called to follow in leading the church. As we have pursued this new model of governance the past 5 years, these principles provide the boundary rules for ministry and even more the freedom to serve and to lead on the playing field of ministry. Part of building culture is clarifying what is allowed and what is not allowed.

3. Build Greater Awareness of the Guidance of the Holy Spirit in Shaping our Culture. Our administrative staff has also been working through Ruth Haley Barton’s book, Pursuing God’s Will Together. We have not only read the book, we are applying the principles of prayer. This has been a great tool to help build a prayer culture as Gary Haugen shared in the class on International Justice Mission (IJM). Prayer has become more than just what we do at the beginning of the meeting or to wrap it up at the end. Prayer is what we do as we meet, what we pursue as we talk action steps, and what we do outside of the meeting in our own spiritual practices as well as seeking to hear the Spirit’s promptings as we meet. How much more exciting meetings have become as we meet realizing the Holy Spirit is with us and working through us. In the next 90 days and beyond, we will continue on that journey together.

4. Answer the Questions that Describe our Culture.The need to do so was affirmed in the class, and for me had been hinted at in reading Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage and having our team hear him speak at the Global Leadership Summit in August. As our leaders heard Patrick, I knew one take away from the Summit would be to answer those 6 questions. Building on his book and presentation as well as this Lift class, the next 90 days call for putting pen to paper to answer the 6 questions. What are the 6?

1) Why do we exist? Think core purpose as in Jim Collins, Built to Last

2) How do we behave? Core values that are not the generic one size fits all, but the one size that fits us as in the start up company that identified “willing to sweep floors” as one of its core values. Answers to this question also addressed aspirational, accidental and permission-to-play values.

3) What do we do?This should be the easiest to answer, and should be clear and straight forward.

4) How will we succeed? Strategy is involved here, but Lencioni goes deeper speaking of “Strategic Anchors” (3 strategies that provide the context for all decision making).

5) What is most important right now? Answering this one has the most immediate impact. What is the thematic goal? What is the rallying cry that defines the next 3-6 months of focus?

6) Who must do what? Clarity for division of labor and the advantage of teams that bring multiple perspectives to accomplish the thematic goal.

What I like about these 4 steps in the next 90 days is how they weave together to define, clarify, build and describe the culture of transformation God is building in our church, in our leadership and best of all in each of us. What a great time to be leading!

As you look at your leadership culture, what are some next steps you are pursuing for further growth?

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