Leadership, Resources

Why Business Thinking is Not the Answer

I spent some time last week with some really amazing people from the Salvation Army (Canada and Bermuda territory) at Jackson’s Point on the shore of Lake Simcoe. I’ll have lots more to share about that in the next couple days. For now, I’ll just say that helping them through a process of discerning a renewed vision for their youth ministry was a tiring process in some ways; but it was actually inspirational to be with a group people who are sincerely passionate about reaching a generation with the truth and grace of Jesus within the rich legacy that the Army has. While I was away with them I had the chance to read Jim Collin’s monograph for non-profits based on his book Good To Great (which has been on my shelf unread for at least a year). The monograph was recommended to me by Leanne Graham from Medical Ministry International. I’ll trust her judgment completely from now on. this is a really useful resource. It’s less than 40 pages, but full of easily understood and applicable ideas. I immediately saw ways it could be applied to our work at Catalyst, and to some of the issues arising with the Salvation Army folks too. You should read it for yourself, (the $15 and hour of your time will be very well spent), but hear are a couple things that stood out to me: -there are ways in which “business” principles conflict with social service situations, but there are higher principles that govern all purposes that do translate -non-profits tend to lose themselves by evaluating measurable inputs when we should be disciplining ourselves to evaluate outcomes -long term results require disciplined focus on only what we do best, regardless of other opportunities -getting the right people on board (and the wrong people off) is essential, and high standards are the key to selection (I wish I’d understood this when I was planting a church.) -we must be fierce about defending our brand, it is the key to our long term effectiveness I’d love to hear what others think after reading it…