I'm Creating a Crisis

Today our staff met for our all-day all-staff planning meeting.  I love these scheduled opportunities to get out of the rigor of the immediate needs and look ahead into the new year.

We do some practical stuff like working through the calendar and talking about some of the big initiatives on the horizon, but the best thing we do is…

Create a Crisis.

We’re fortunate that Cross Point is experiencing some tremendous growth.  We have so much to be thankful for and so much to be excited about, but we still need to create a crisis.

I’m sure that sounds a bit crazy, so let me explain:

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 crisis” – 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 team 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.

So today we created a crisis… and we had some great discussion doing it.

How about you?  Are you facing a crisis? If so, don’t underestimate the power that this unfortunate event can be in unifying your team.

If you aren’t currently facing a crisis, do you need to create one? Does your team need a crisis – a thematic goal – to unify them?

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  • PaulSteinbrueck December 9, 2009  

    Good stuff, Jenni. I read silos several years ago and kind of forgotten about that. I guess we set ourselves up for a crisis a month or so ago when we set a big deadline for tomorrow. Most of our staff worked late last night and may be again tonight. Hoping it brings the team together. 🙂

  • mandythompson December 9, 2009  

    I'm digging this, but I don't quite get the "created crisis" yet… I'm sure I'll think back on this post in a few months, when I run into the inevitable Silos at the new church.

  • bondChristian December 10, 2009  

    Yes, I think the kind of crisis and the people involved is important to consider. Sure, the right crisis with the right people led by God can lead to wonderful results, but it might not always turn out that way.

    I hear what you're saying though. I know sometimes thinking in terms of a big, hairy problem is an excellent way to press through mediocrity.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  • Jan Owen December 9, 2009  

    I kind of understand it in this context, but having gone thru two major real life church crisis I am not sure they were ultimately unifying. At first yes, maybe, depending on the crisis. But crises have long term effects. It's hard to stay unified behind the goal years later when everyone is just flat tired AND has an opinion. Of course we faced ours without a leader. I wonder if that makes a difference?

  • jcatron December 10, 2009  

    Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I would agree that there are many more things to consider when you are facing a true crisis. Lencioni speaks to this more in Silos, Politics & Turf Wars. I'm also going to be reviewing another book about leading through crisis that has some great insight.

    Creating a Crisis is a dramatic way of emphasizing the need to create a unifying objective for your staff… before a true crisis exists.