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Connecting Values

April 26, 2010

Pastor Steven Furtick sent me (Craig Groeschel) an interesting book called The Orange Code, How ING Direct Succeeded by Being a Rebel with a Cause.

The book shows clearly how to connect emotion and passion to your values. After visiting Elevation Church, I saw Pastor Steven’s version of the Code (or the values) for Elevation Church. He inspired me to rework our ( values and connect them more directly with our cause.

I’ll share with you a few of them a day throughout this week.

  1. We are faith-filled, big thinking, bet-the-farm risk takers. We’ll never insult God with small thinking and safe living.
  2. We are all about the “capital C” Church! The local church is the hope of the world and we know we can accomplish infinitely more together than apart.
  3. We are spiritual contributors not spiritual consumers. The church does not exist for us. We are the church and we exist for the world.
  4. We give up things we love for things we love even more. It’s an honor to sacrifice for Christ and His church.
  5. We wholeheartedly reject the label mega-church. We are a micro-church with a mega-vision.
  6. We will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. To reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing.
  7. We will lead the way with irrational generosity. We truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive.
  8. We will laugh hard, loud and often. Nothing is more fun than serving God with people you love!
  9. We will be known for what we are for, not what we’re against. There are already enough jerks in the world.
  10. We always bring our best. Excellence honors God and inspires people.
  11. The only constant in our ministry is change. God is always doing a new thing. Why we do what we do never changes. How we do it must change.
  12. We don’t recruit volunteers; we release leaders. Volunteers do good things but leaders change the world.
  13. We’re living in the “good old days.” We’re thankful for God’s blessings today and expect even more tomorrow.

Reverse Bow-Tie

April 19, 2010

In a recent meeting regarding a potential partnership one gentlemen referred to the “reverse bow-tie” partnership model.  This reference sounded so interesting I decided to do a little research myself.  The “reverse bow-tie” model has many applications, church partnering is just one.  I have bolded the meat of this article that highlights how P&G and Wal-mart work hand-in-hand.

The Reverse Bow-tie

Much has been written about the successful partnership model epitomized by Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart in a landmark collaboration started 20 years ago. However, in addition to the Information Technology and supply chain synergies that developed, the even greater lesson to be learned is that being customer-centric involves changing your organization chart in terms of how you interact with your customers.

The P&G and Wal-Mart story is well known. It has been documented in Rising Tide : Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter & Gamble and a recent white paper by Michael Grean of P&G and Michael J. Shaw from the University of Illinois. The changeover transformed a fragmented, even adversarial, process into an integrated system that drove down costs and automated business practices, while building sales by focusing on selling what customers wanted. What we might not recognize is that it was founded on an organizational structure that shared data so that both entities could better understand their customers. Information sharing is the reason for becoming customer-centered. Information sharing is the secret for success of becoming customer-centered.

This reshaping can best be understood by a model described in the diagram shown. In the traditional Bow-Tie design, each company approached the other through a single point of contact, with Sales at P&G “owning” all customer activities and working with Purchasing at Wal-Mart, who “owned” his company decisions. Both of these counterparts were backed by a pyramid of functional support, but everything was filtered through the point of contact.

In the new relationship, everything was reversed, forming a Reverse Bow-Tie or diamond shape. When the functional specialists in each organization began meeting with their counterparts, information and process improvements began to flow. The result was a game-changing breakthrough that benefited both companies, as well as the consumer.

Tom Peters in a recent issue (vol. 6, no. 1) of the Corporate Design Foundation magazine spoke about Mistake No. 1 that managers make in understanding and using design. It is “treating design as a veneer issue rather than a soul issue.” He explains that corporate executives are too literalist in their interpretations of the deliverables to their customers. “We’re trained as engineers. We have MBAs. Because we still believe that business is a reductionist activity, rather than a holistic activity.”

The relationship with our customers is much more complex than that. The goal of becoming customer-centered is to meet the demands of a quickly changing market. The fulfillment of the Reverse Bow-Tie structure means that the customer is more loyal and that your operation is more efficient. The real secret, however, is that your suddenly have real-time information about your customers’ needs which don’t become filtered and misconstrued through bureaucratic convolutions.

This dynamic information source becomes a knowledge base and expertise that newcomers to the market cannot match and your customers recognize that. It allows your organization to resolve problems and to experiment with new ideas without weeks of studying and multiple layers of approval. It creates what Peters calls a “bias for action” and an energized workforce that can use its creativity to design customized solutions for its customers.

Expecting your existing organization to become customer-centered because of a few cosmetic changes is unrealistic. Being customer-centered is non-traditional and this carries over to designing your organization, as well. The “veneer” approach will not work. The world that your customers experience is changing so rapidly that your company’s success depends on the constant gathering of information. If focusing on your customers is central to your enterprise strategy, then you must design your organization to reflect that goal. The shared information will be powerful.

(c) Thinking Like a Customer (

Pair of Hands, brains…attached or unattached?

January 21, 2010

So…if Hamel is right, what does this mean for church leaders?  Are we asking for a pair of hands and asking folks to leave their brains unattached?

“Amazingly, it took nearly 20 years for America’s carmakers to decipher Toyota’s advantage.  Unlike its Western rivals, Toyota believed that first-line employees could be more than cogs in a soulless manufacturing machine…In contrast, U.S. car companies tended to discount the contributions that could be made by first-line employees, and relied instead on staff experts for improvements in quality and efficiency.  Such was the disdain for the intelligence of frontline workers that Henry Ford once wondered querulously, ‘Why is it that whenever I ask for a pair of hands, a brain comes attached?’”

Gary Hamel

Jim Collins at Drucker Day

December 18, 2009

Here is a great talk by Jim Collins at Drucker Day in Claremont, CA. The 10 suggestions at the end of Jim’s talk are especially good. Enjoy. (You can also view the transcript here)

Jim Collins Talk at Drucker Day
from Derek Bell on Vimeo.

A Message from Bob Buford

December 16, 2009

Bob Buford has played a tremendously important role in my life – second only to my parents. His wisdom, determination, and love of important things are an inspiration to so many. Here is a great message from Bob regarding the “final exam.”

How do we encourage busy people to serve?

December 6, 2009

This article came from Tony Morgan – one of my favorite bloggers –

How do we encourage busy people to serve?


Last week I started a series of posts on engaging volunteers in ministry. Let me conclude that series by offering this interview with Mark Waltz, the Pastor of Connections at Granger Community Church. Mark, among other things, champions ministry connections at Granger. What’s amazing about the ministry culture at Granger is that there are over 5,000 people attending the church and more than 45% of the church (including kids) is in a serving role. I was curious to learn more about how that has happened, so here’s the interview.

TONY: Tell me about your role at Granger Community Church.

MARK: My role is about people. I’m ultimately responsible for environments that facilitate relationships and growth. Those environments include guest services, groups, classes, volunteer teams, and care ministries. Some call it assimilation. I personally hate that word. No one wants to be assimilated. People are interested in meeting others; people want to make a contribution; people do care about personal growth; people really want to belong. My team and our volunteers are about just that – helping people belong.

TONY: Over 45% of the people who attend Granger, serve in a volunteer role. That’s very high compared to other churches. In your opinion, what’s driving that?

MARK: Ultimately, volunteering is perceived as “normal.” The expectation that ministry is accomplished by people – not merely pastors – is part of our culture. That started nearly 24 years ago when Mark Beeson planted the church. That started with vision: a vision that the people are the church, they own the ministry.

There is also a compelling vision that calls people to something. Something worth giving their lives to… worth their very lives. Again, people want to make a significant contribution; they want their lives to count. Creating clear and accessible onramps allows people to do what they want to do. Schedules that are varied, roles that are “chunked” and values that respect people make for an engaging team culture.

TONY: As Granger has experienced growth, has your strategy for moving people into serving roles changed?

MARK: Our goal has always been the same: make it normal and easy to volunteer. But, yes, our specific strategies have shifted and evolved over the years. We’ve tried connecting people via the weekend program (bulletin). We’ve hosted “ministry fairs” and “volunteer expos.” We’ve used the web.

A year or so ago we borrowed an idea from Fellowship Church, got creative with our own label, and now host periodic “VolunTOUR” opportunities. Guests and members can tour the campus, getting a “behind the scenes” view of the many “first serve” volunteer roles at Granger. We’ve seen the best results with this strategy. It won’t be our last though. I’m sure it’ll change again.

TONY: How would you challenge both staff and volunteer leaders to improve how they build volunteer teams?

MARK: While there’s a clear task to be performed, keep your focus on people. When the focus tilts heavily to “task,” people catch it. You have quotas to fill, a job to do, recruitment to accomplish. No one wants to be assimilated. When you focus on people, you invite. You cast vision for what can be. You invite people to that vision.

I’ve also watched people – staff and volunteers – lose their own passion and enthusiasm for the very thing they’re inviting people to join. This happens because the task becomes the end-all. It also happens because people forget the “why.” We do what we do because people matter to God, because God’s invited us to his agenda of redemption in the world. Forget that, you forget people. Forget people, you’re left with a task you no longer understand.

Finally, invite people to ownership. Invite them to leverage their own gifts, personality and passion to accomplish together what the leader could never do alone.

TONY: What trends do you see in culture that might impact the number of people serving in our churches?

MARK: Don’t miss this: people are already busy before they encounter our menu of church choices. Their choices – their “menus” – are filled with appointments, work, kid’s practices, and a host of volunteer options in the community. Two trends emerge from this reality.

First of all, people have full schedules. The vision will have to be crystal clear and dead-on compelling to cause people to re-evaluate and reprioritize their schedules to volunteer in and around the ministry of the church.

Secondly, when volunteering is done selflessly, from a motive to honor Christ and honor people, it’s no greater service performed in the local church than it is in a community school or civic organization. I’m not suggesting that every community organization is tied into the eternal, kingdom work that the church embraces. However, a cup of cold water offered in Jesus’ name is a cup of cold water – whether it’s at Grace Chapel or the local Red Cross.

Both of these trends – pace and place – will impact the number of people serving in the local church. Perhaps our challenge is to redefine the face and scope of the local church in our community and world. Maybe, just maybe, the church really is people. And when those people serve in local schools, the Red Cross, the soup kitchen and the Job Corps, it really is the work of the “church.”

To hear more about Mark has to offer about connecting people in ministry and helping them belong, I encourage you to pick up his most recent book, Lasting Impressions.

Tony Morgan on the “I can do it better” trap

December 5, 2009

I can do it better.

Posted: 04 Dec 2009 03:09 PM PST
Pride makes you do stupid things. One of the consequences is falling into the “I can do it better” trap. It’s what happens when you look at a situation and or a decision and say to yourself, “I can’t let anyone else have this one, because it’ll just be easier (and better) if I do it myself.”

Here are some thoughts for those of us who wrestle with this:  <<go to the entire article>>