10 Areas for Stewarding Good Place Organizations
0. Introduction . . . 1
1. Formal Leadership . . . 3 Process & People
Formal vs. informal leadership Role vs. Identity
2.Process . . . 5
A System Needs an Aim Process Descriptions Management’s Role in Determining the Output of a System Feedback Is the Process Stable or Unstable? Managing Improvement
3. People . . . 8
Position Descriptions Responsibility for Training, Education, Development Career Paths Taking Care of Each Other
4. The Leader’s Character . . . 11 Leadership is not authoritarianism Leadership is not facilitated, direct democracy
Be humble Be Gentle “Do No Harm” Leading is a role for Serving Others
This small book is a section of a larger work - the eutopia Book, which: - addresses the questions + What is Everything?
+ What is true? + What is Good? + How should we live? - finds as the Answer to those Questions:
+ Everybody wants to live in a Good Place; or + God wants everybody to live in a Good Place - investigates how we build up Good Places in three areas: + in Communities + as Individuals + at work in Organizations. We can build up Good Places through the Organizations where we work if they aim to - be economically viable, - give their members opportunity and encouragement to live up to their full potential as individuals, and - build up the communities where they work. The eutopia Book identifies Ten Areas of Stewarding Organizations that will result in an organization that accomplishes these three aims. The Ten Areas are so interrelated that it is difficult to talk about one without talking about the others. Leadership, Part 1 establishes some characteristics and responsibilities of leaders. Understanding foundational principles will help focus your attention and efforts at developing leadership (your own or that of others) in appropriate directions. These principles form the foundatin on which further leadership principles and skills can be built. Without this solid foundation, leadership can tend to wander off into charisma or authoritarianism or both - two weak forms of “being in charge”, neither of which builds up people or Good Places. Leaders at all levels, from first time supervisors to CEO’s to Board Chairs, must follow these principles in order to lead their organizations into significant, lasting success.
1. Formal Leadership
Some positions in organizations - such as Supervisors, Managers, Directors, Executives - carry formal authority. People in these positions are “in charge” of certain things, they have defined levels of decision-making ability, and are responsible for certain areas of the organization.
Process & People
Formal Leadership has responsibility for Process and People . A Leader has
authority over and responsibility for
and its components.
A Leader also has
authority over and responsibility for the work,
the training, education, development, and the general well-being of the people working in the process.
Formal vs. informal leadership
Leaders influence other people. Some people naturally have influence with other people. We all know people to whom others consistently look for direction, affirmation, insights, advice. These people have natural leadership, influencing others, whether or not it is ever formally acknowledged. Some people are given formal leadership positions - school teacher, police officer, shift supervisor. People who receive
positions of formal leadership may or may not have the influence of natural leadership. In many cases, people who don’t have natural influence can fufill the role of formal leadership.
Role vs. Identity
A role is something you do. The role of a leader is to serve the people and facilitate the process(es) in a specific area of responsibility. A role can be given or taken away. Some people are given formal leadership positions - school teacher, police officer, shift supervisor. People who receive formal leadership may or may not have the natural, easy influence of natural leadership. In many cases, people who don’t have natural influence, natural leadership, often still can fufill a role of formal leadership. Identity Your identity is who you are as a person. Your identity, who you are as a person, cannot be given or taken away by another person. Having a role with formal authority does not change your identity, who you are as a person. Having great authority does not make anyone a great person. Having little or no formal authority does not change your identity, either. Having little or no authority does not make anyone less of a person or a less important person. One of the great dangers of having formal authority in an organization is the risk of perceiving that people’s value comes from their ability to accomplish work in the organization. This applies to our view of ourselves as well as our view of others.
Process: people working together to achieve a common aim. A Leader has authority over and responsibility for a process and its components. We work together in organizations in order to achieve greater efficiency in our work than we could achieve by working alone. We could never achieve the efficiency in work as a subsistence farmer - growing all our own food, building our own houses, spinning our own thread and yarn, weaving our own fabric, making our own clothes, making our own shoes, and on and on - that we do being a member of an organization with several or several dozen or hundreds or thousands of members. In turn, our organizations are members of a society with millions, even hundreds of millions, of people trading the product of their labor. In any group of people working together, someone needs to have the role of formal leadership to make final decisions and to specify standards, directions and aims.
A System needs an aim: The Charter
All actions, projects, programs, directions, themes, messages, products, services, operations, etc. related to a process should be directed by and align with the Charter. The Charter helps avoid Mission Creep, Attractive Nuisances, and Shiny Object Collections.
We often think we have everything figured out in our heads, until we take the time to write it all out. Everyone with formal authority over an operation or some part of it should have a written description of the process(es) for which they are responsible. At one level this could be a flow diagram, as below.
Market ---> Sales ---> Production ---> Invoicing/ Communication Collections
The written process description should be in as much detail as necessary to understand and manage it, and to facilitate teaching it to those who work in or around to it. The process description also provides a handy tool to guide continuous improvement efforts.
Is the Process Stable or Unstable?
A process is stable if it produces a predictable Output - that is, for a given input over a period of time, the system produces results within a known and predictable range. If the system does not have a predictable output, leadership must work with all involved to make it predictable (stable).
If the system produces a predictable Output, leadership has two jobs. One is to improve the average: raising the average for activities scored as bowling, lowering the average for activities scored as golf. The other job is to narrow the range of variation in the output. For instance, in a given process the desired average output might be a value of 10. Imagine a machine that fills 10 pound bags of flour. Suppose the machine dispenses, on average, 10.1 pounds of flour per bag. Not bad. But in achieving that average, some bags receive 4 pounds of flour and some bags 14. Not good! Some customers would love you, some would take you to court. It would be better to have an average of 10.1 pounds where the range only went from 10.0 to 10.2.
Part of managing a system involves managing feedback loops. This includes feedback from those whom your process serves (customers) - both external and internal customers - as well as those who serve you (suppliers) so that your process can function well and continually improve.
Management’s Role in Determining the Output of the System
Who is in charge of: - The Hiring Process - New Member Orientation - Training, Education, Development - Working Conditions hours, breaks lighting work space work environment equipment tools outside suppliers input from other departments market communications, sales materials ? The leadership, the management of the organization is responsible for all these and many other conditions in which members of the organization perform their work. These working conditions, to a very great extent, determine how productive members of the organization can be. The biggest impact on worker productivity comes from system changes made by leadership, management. Exhortations to people working in a system to increase productivity without giving them means to improve the system in which they work is frustrating and fruitless. Continuing gains in quaility and productivity come from improvements to the work system - which only management can make or approve.
The purpose of an Organization: 1. increase the value of individuals’ labor, 2. provide opportunity and encouragement for people to develop their potential - 3. for the benefit of the Individual, the Organization, and the Community. A Leader has
authority over and responsibility for the work, the training,
education and development, and the general well-being of the people working in the process. The purpose of a work process is the good of the people whom it serves - both the people served by the process’s product (customers) as well as the people working in the process (members of the organization, “employees”). The leader of a process, then, has responsibility for the good of both of these groups - customers and members of the organization. In a simple sense, the leader is responsible for the conditions and output of the work performed. In a full sense, the leader of a work group has responsibility for the well-being of the members of the organization who work in the process over which s/he has authority. This is not unlimited responsibility, of course, but very real responsibility nonetheless. Why do people join our organization? Why do people work at all? Why do we work in organizations rather than each of us going off and working by ourselves? We go to work because, after a certain age, our parents don’t feed, clothe and house us for free anymore. We have to go out into the wide world and work to earn our keep. We work in organizations rather than going off to work by ourselves because our work is much more efficient and productive when we join others as part of a collaborative process.
People join our organizations because they have come to a determination that we will be able to make their labor, efforts, talents, mental capacity, etc. worth more through our organization than anyplace else they could work. They believe that by joining us we will enable them to create more value (economic and other) than they would be able to create anywhere else. That is the understanding, the contract, between an individual and the organization s/he joins. Just as a business makes contracts with customers and then needs to live up to the obligations of that contract - not just barely meeting the minimum requirements but trying to exceed expectations and delight their customers - in the same way an organization providing employment needs to focus on living up to the employment contract, and work to make a person’s contributions of the highest value - not just barely meeting minimum requirements but working to make a person’s contributions of the highest value, delighting the members of the organization that they chose to join this group. Peoople, of course, are notoriously fickle and difficult to please - especially if you let on that your aim is to delight them. “I’m not delighted yet! Now you need to . . . .” Honestly and accurately framing expectations up front is important for so many human interactions, employment certainly being one of them. In our organization I often tell people, “If you want to be a ballet dancer or a professional football player, don’t join this organization. If you look around here, see what we do, and want to do that, by all means consider joining us.” In a formal leadership/authority role, you sign up to help an organization live up to this contract of employment - helping people increase the value of their labor, to the benefit of our Customers, the Individual, our Organization, and our larger Community. This is the core responsibility of leadership: we are here to serve people. We serve our customers by providing good and valuable offerings. We serve our fellow members of the organization, in part, by building up the value of their labor. These two aims are very much compatible with each other.
How do we accomplish this? 1. Make sure everyone in your system understands roles, goals and Procedures (including suppliers and customers) 2. Facilitate training towards full competence in positions 3. Provide opportunity and encouragement for advancement
Responsibility for Training, Education and Development
“You can lead a horse to water . . . “ Not everybody will be excited and motivated by the opportunities we present. “Full Competency in the Position” If we hired the right people for the openings we have, each one should be able to achieve Full Competency in the Position - and so receive the top pay level available for that position.
Taking care of each other
Beyond just “getting the job done,” people at work can form a genuine, caring community.
4. The Leader’s Character
Leadership is not authoritarianism
Informal authority accompanies informal leadership. Formal leadership comes with formal authority (or, it should; sometimes it doesn’t, and that causes problems). While authority inevitably accompanies leadership it does not constitute the essence of leadership. The more often a leader resorts to exercising Formal Authority to “make” people do the right thing, the more often there is a failure of leadership. Bossy people rely on the force of authority to make people comply with their wills. Leaders work to get people to want to do the right things. Some people want positions of Formal Authority so that they can make people do what they want. Others want Formal Authority just because they like being the one to tell everyone what to do or not do. Nobody with that motivation should ever be given a leadership role with Formal Authority over other people. Leadership is not about telling people what to do, using others as extensions of our own wills; it is about serving a purpose beyond ourselves. While leaders seek to understand the people they lead, a leader does more than just seek to facilitate the will of the group. An important part of leadership includes being in touch with those you lead in order to be familiar with their working conditions, personal lives, range of emotions and current attitudes. We do this in large part because we are human and it is natural and good to build healthy relationships. Leadership requires the skills to build healthy relationships. It requires us to know and be known by those we work with. The work of leadership cannot be performed well (or at all) without the knowledge of and the experience of others that comes with healthy relationships. Leadership is not facilitated, direct democracy
At some point, though, leadership goes beyond getting to know who people are and what they want and then facilitating their desires and aims. If we allow it, people will direct their leaders just to fulfill their wishes. Coaching is just one form of leadership, but it has a characteristic that can guide people in all other forms of leadership: coaches inspire their atheletes to achieve performance beyond what they (the atheletes) previously thought they were capable of. And, particularly coaches of team sports, they inspire their players to aspire more for the team’s good than for their own individual benefit. Leaders inspire people to 1) see values that are bigger than and beyond just themselves, 2) rise above the level they previously thought possible, and 3) accomplish something significant for the greater good beyond limited self-interest. This is beyond just telling people what to do, making people do what you want them to do or just helping people get what they want. A leaders needs to understand their organization’s Charter, the operation they lead - including work flow, work procedures, customer needs/desires, job descriptions of all who report to them, what outcomes from work count as success, and how the activities of the group affect/contribute to the desired outcomes for the larger system. Someone with a formal leadership role will need to make decisions for the good of the group s/he leads and the organization everyone belongs to, based on the understanding described above. Views and thoughts solicited frommembers of the group contribute to these decision but do not necessarily determine them. Everyone places great trust in the individuals given formal authority to make these decisions. Nobody believes they will make the absolute best decision 100% of the time. Those who choose people to hold formal authority in the organization believe that they will make good decisions on a regular basis. They will (should) have ways to determine if those with formal authority make good use of it.
Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? I Corinthians 4: 7
Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians 2: 5-7 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4 To Serve You have not been given a role of authority in the organization so that you have one less boss, one less person telling you what to do, not so that you have more freedom to do things your own way. The purpose of having more responsibility, more authority in the organization is to take on the role of serving others – your fellow workers, our customers, the organization itself. A leader must be humble and put other people’s needs ahead of his/her own needs. The more responsibility and authority you receive, the more people whose needs you must put ahead of your own. It’s All a Gift On whatever basis we were chosen for a role with greater responsibility, our own intelligence, wit, efforts, will or whatever else we have in our favor were not sufficient to secure our position.
Whatever abilities we do have that brought us into consideration for our role are all gifts to us. Life: we did not cause our own existence. Intelligence: we did not create our own minds, cleverly choosing to build a really good one! Education: whatever we have learned, we did not create the educational opportunities that we took advantage of. Other people, over decades or even centuries did the pioneering work to assemble a body of knowledge. Other people wrote the text books, designed the course work, founded the schools, taught the classes, built and maintained the buildings, and on and on. We applied ourselves to learning, but could never have created our education on our own. Energy Levels: the energy that allows us to work hard to learm ad to do our jobs well is a gift! Not everybody had the energy level to work and learn what you have been able to accomplish. We don’t have it because we chose to have it. We have it because it has been granted to us. Some people just don’t have an energy level that allows them to accomplish much. It
may not be their “fault” at all! It Might Have Been Someone Else
You might not have been the absolute best person for the job. The organization works hard to pick “the best” person for the role, but
The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
We might have overlooked someone else who would have been better at this than you will be. Chances are pretty good that someone somewhere is thinking , “I would have been better.”
Help for the Humble These all provide reasons not to be arrogant or proud that we have been chosen for our position. Here is one more: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6 How Does Humility Manifest Itself? When somebody comes to you with a question you take the time to hear them out and give a thoughtful reply. When someone talks to you they get your full attention. Works for the benefit of others. Doesn’t seek to be noticed. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4: 2-3 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servants must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct. II Timothy 2: 23-25 a Be gentle
A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Proverbs 15: 1-2
As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. I Thessalonians 2: 6 b -7 Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God forgives us in Christ. Ephesians 4:32
“Do no harm.”
Understand the system and the people before making changes. This old physicians maxim applies to all leaders, especially when we first take a new role. Most often we are promoted into a role with greater authority in an area of the organization that is not in crisis. Therefore, no immediate, drastic measures are necessary. Assuming this to be the case, we can profitably spend our early time in the role getting to know the people and the system. Chances are that we have been promoted to supervisor or manager in an area that we have already been working in and know the people and systems fairly well. In such cases our knowledge is not that of a supervisor or manager. Some of that comes from time on the job and from having a wealth of different experiences. Some needs to come from more careful, more in-depth study of the people and the processes in much the same was as preparing to teach a class. However familiar we may think we are with the material before hand, we never learn it as well as when we have to be prepared to teach it to others. In the same way, you never know the people and the processes the same, no matter how familiar you are with them before hand, as you do when you are responsible for them. When we start out in new roles of authority we need to spend more time trying to learn than trying to make changes. Any changes we do feel we need to make we must be very careful that they don’t do more harm than good! Changes should be made with caution, following from careful study, a depth of understanding of the people and the system, as well as from having sought input from people involved and/or impacted by a change. We should make changes when we can clearly describe the intended benefits. After making a change we need to monitor or study things to find out if our change did indeed secure our intended benefit. All changes must be made cautiously, especially when we are new to a position. First, do no harm.
Leading is a role for serving others
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Philippians 2: 5-8
You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over hem, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for may. Mark 10: 42-45 Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. Luke 12: 42-44 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
(looking through the wrong end of the telescope): “Employees” serving “The Boss”. Right understanding The formal leader of a group serves the other members to help them achieve their full potential both in terms of performance and development. As a leader, how good can you be? We find out based on how well you can help people reach their potential. Serving Customers Ultimately, our organization exists to serve. If we don’t serve our customers’ needs there is no point for the company to exist. We all are servants. We are here to serve our customers. Serving FellowWorkers Some of us in the organization serve customers directly. The rest of us serve those who serve our customers. Supervisors and managers serve those who serve our customers. It’s funny that we think of those who serve the servants as having higher status than the servants. If those who serve the servants truly are humble in their service we rightly should honor them – however, that is not usually the way people in our society honor themselves from positions of power and authority. Part of a leader’s role is to teach others how to serve our customers. The best way is to lead by example. If our managers and supervisors truly serve those in the organization who serve the customers, they will provide living examples from which we all can learn how to serve our customers. Serving The Organization The organization is not a separate, individual entity of its own. “The Company” is nothing more than how we act when we are together to do this work. There are times when it is appropriate for us willingly to submit our own individual self-interest to that of the group. In so doing we serve “the group,” the organization, the company. We need to make sure that we do so in the interest of serving other individuals – whether our co-workers or our customers or the larger community. We need to be careful not to let the convenient fiction of the group identity become more important than real, actual, living persons.
Copyright © 2073 by Scott Myers
Published by Good Place Publishing 180 South Avenue Tallmadge, OH 44278
Printed in the United States of America All rights reserved. No part of this publication may
be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording, internet— without the prior written permission of the authors. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version,copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
To learn more about this book go to www.eutopiabook.com
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