Create a Crisis – Part 1

I get a lot of questions about what we do for staff leadership and development at Cross Point, so I thought I would start sharing more of the behind-the-scenes details of how we lead and manage.

A couple of years ago I read Silos, Politics & Turf Wars by Patrick Lencioni and quickly adopted his idea of the “Thematic Goal”.  His point is that oftentimes you see organizations most unified during times of crisis.  When something goes wrong everyone, across all departments, has to come together to pull through it.  When things are going well, territorialism and silos begin to creep into the organization.  He suggests that every organization should create a “Thematic Goal” – a rallying cry for the entire organization.  It’s a goal that everyone across all departments, ministry areas, etc. can join together and share.

I absolutely love this concept because one of the things that I fear the most for our organization is the issue of silos; employees becoming too caught up or concerned with their own area of responsibility that they become disconnected from the overarching mission.  When this creeps in it’s disaster for the organization.

In 2007 our goal was “Avoid Complacency”.  We had just moved into our new building on Charlotte Ave. and there was a fear of us behaving as if we had “arrived” now that we had a 24/7 facility.  Our challenge was to not make Cross Point about a building, but to more fervently than ever be relentlessly dedicated to reaching people.

In 2008 we continued that idea with the new goal of “Reaching the Unreached”.  We knew that there were still thousands of people throughout Nashville and surrounding communities that we were not yet reaching.  We became more passionate than ever to keep people the focus of our “crisis”.

Loving people has become central to our culture at Cross Point and I think a lot of that has to do with our thematic goal commitments these past two years.

Creating a thematic goal doesn’t solve all the problems.  In fact, it can very easy be a great idea that gets thrown out there but then shelved for the rest of the year.  The challenge lies in keeping this “crisis” front and center and holding the team accountable to the goal.

I’ll be sharing more about our 2009 goals and the process by which we create our thematic goal in “Create a Crisis” parts 2 & 3.

In the meantime, tell me…

Do you do something similar with your staff?

If not, is there a crisis you need to create before one creates itself?

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  • Michael Warden February 12, 2009  

    Hey Jenni–great post. Yes, we do something similar at Gateway. We listen for God’s lead in creating a “compelling vision” for our leadership each new year. A unifying value or goal that all of our energy as a staff is turned toward for that entire year. Pretty much the same thing as Theme.

    This year it’s “Multiply Yourself”–i.e. creating a culture of life-on-life developmental relationships throughout the church, starting with everyone at the staff level.

  • Jenni Catron February 12, 2009  

    @Michael – I love your theme/vision for this year! (I might borrow that 🙂 )

  • Michael Warden February 12, 2009  

    Feel free, Jenni. And thanks.

  • Randy Wood February 12, 2009  

    I have used a simular method in the past. Kind of a “answer the questions before they are asked”. It was never full proof, but it helped.

    After reading this post, I think I have truly forgot to do this. Why? Well, because I did not do it for my personal life and WHAM! Now I am digging out of a major depression. Thank you for the reminder. I am gonna call our volunteers for a meeting and do this again.

  • jan owen February 12, 2009  

    As one who has dealt with crisis I think this is a great idea. “Recovery” or “Staying Faithful” are hard goals and when we struggle just to keep ourselves from drowning, our focus is INTERNAL, on our issues and problems. At this point, chaos ensues and there becomes a sort of “cannibalistic” mindset that tears a church apart.

    I am looking forward to beginning to be more “forward focused” in the coming year!

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