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ss triple helix - Christmas 2008,  'Good to great and the social sectors' and 'Being strategic about leadership: the principles that work in God's world'

'Good to great and the social sectors' and 'Being strategic about leadership: the principles that work in God's world'

Good to great: by Jim Collins
Random House 2006
£6.99; Pb 37pp
ISBN 1 9052 11 32 5

Being strategic about leadership: by Jill Garrett
Christian Research Leadership Lecture 2006
£2.50; Pb 16pp
ISBN 978 1 85321172 0

These two papers are worth reading together. Jim Collins, a non-Christian and author of a larger volume on business management entitled Good to Great, has written this monograph specifically for managers and leaders in non-profit organization. Jill Garrett, in a Christian Research Leadership Lecture delivered in 2006, refers to Collins' work and her own recent research which demonstrates that biblical principles are best practice for leaders and managers in both business and non-profit organisastions such as charities and churches.

Thriving organisations have selfless leaders, who are primarily ambitious for the cause they work for rather than for themselves. They have a clear focus on 'what we do best and are passionate about' and do not allow themselves to get distracted by other worthwhile things; just as Jesus, who could have fed or healed many more people, fixed his eyes on Jerusalem and Calvary. Selfless leaders enable each team member to contribute their best to the organization for the sake of those it serves, akin to 'enabling the saints for works of service', and they rise above circumstances by creating pockets of greatness in the context of systemic constraints (such as the NHS!) through conscious choice (commitment) and discipline.

Other practical points are considered, such as the need to develop 'brand' reputation (demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit), and the importance of getting the right person (vocation) in the right place (functioning as a body). It is worth being rigorous when appointing personnel as once the wrong person is in place it is usually much harder to get them out!

The leaders' behaviour has a powerful effect for good or ill. In one project 5,000 people were asked 'What would inspire you to follow someone?' and disturbingly one third of them said they had never worked for an inspirational leader. In a poll of 1,000 people who had left their jobs, 70% said they had not left their company but they had left their manager. Organisations thrive when the leader is humble, willing to acknowledge a mistake, quick to praise others, and works to develop a succession team who will take the organization on further.

If you're keen to apply Christian principles in any Christian enterprise, wanting to avoid pitfalls and ready to learn practical tips, these short booklets are well worth the hours they take to read.

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