Core DNA and Leadership

small__4046320876 (1)A few years ago I spent a week in Barcelona, Spain with a great group of leaders in a determined effort to be more effective in the mission. Ministry in Europe has been difficult for years, especially since WWII. Post war Europe became very doubtful and skeptical of Christianity. The history of discouragement and settling for something less in ministry is a painful reality among many missionaries.

Once a missionary, or a ministry, begins to “settle” for something less than their organizational calling, all kinds of bad decisions can be made.

The corresponding results take a ministry off center, and the unique contribution that the organization was meant to make is lost.

At the end of the day, “settling” happens because leadership fails to keep mission critical things central in the life of every member of the organization.

A large portion of our time together in Spain was spent trying to better determine what the core DNA of every staff member in Europe should be.

DNA is the basic component of life that makes someone or something truly unique and identifiable.

The notion of cloning is not the goal, according to God’s design.

The concept of a core identity with freedom of expression is how organizations adapt and innovate.

That was what we were after in Spain. We wanted our organizational DNA to be defined by the irreducible minimum. We wanted to stay principle and value based, not method driven. In other words, if a staff member has the core organizational DNA embedded in their ministry lives then there can actually be great freedom in strategies and methods. This will actually provide the breeding ground for great innovation, and leadership can be confident that the creative methods will not lead to another destination. Core DNA can be a commitment to certain values, messages, etc.–but try avoid a commitment to methods. Whatever is core must be talked about and modeled a lot, especially by leadership. This is the stuff that you will get tired talking about as a leader. It’s the stuff you must reinforce and reward all the time.

The organizational atmosphere must emphasize the core DNA. That is your organizational calling. It is why, according to God’s economy, you exist.

We took the first step that week in thinking this through for our setting. Things of this importance take time and prayer. Not only is the list of essential ingredients important, but so is the means of delivery. The implications are huge–for building the kingdom of God and for retaining healthy staff.

What are your thoughts?

(photo credit)

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