Archive for category Leadership

What’s an Acceptable Level of Risk?

By Allen White Risk Taking the Guesswork out of groups allen white

Trying anything new involves a certain amount of risk. Some people jump into things haphazardly and take foolish risks. Others hold back and risk little or nothing. Sometimes no risk is riskier than the other options.

The bottom line is change causes a sense of loss. You’re saying goodbye to the way things used to be and welcoming something new, sometimes unproven. It’s risky business for sure.

If we risk too much on the wrong things, we ended up bankrupting the leadership credit we had in the bank. But, if we don’t risk any change, we are just burying our leadership “talents” in the ground, which really doesn’t help anyone.

The fear of every pastor is that change will alienate the base. If the stakeholders become upset, they might leave, or worse yet, they might stay but just stop giving. If the change alienates the base, reduces giving, and ultimately costs the pastor his job, then why  would anyone want to take a risk?

It’s possible to take risks that aren’t so risky. There’s a big difference between a strategic risk and reckless abandon. The approach makes a big difference.

How much risk are you comfortable with?

, , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

What the Church Could Learn from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel

By Allen White GaylordOprylandMap

I just returned from the NRB Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. The last time I was at Opryland was nearly 30 years ago, and it was an amusement park. Things have changed.

It was a great convention meeting folks like Gary Smalley, Steve Scott, Dr. David Jeremiah, and Dr. Tony Evans (Lifetogether worked on his Destiny curriculum and helped to launch 500 new groups at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship.) While these are all great men of God with outstanding ministries, what really impressed me was the hotel staff.

The staff was friendly and nice as you would expect in the South. They were also unusually helpful. You couldn’t stand at the hotel map for long without staff members asking if they could help you.

On one particular afternoon, I was trying to meet up with Brett Eastman, my boss at Lifetogether Ministries,  and Phillip Jackson from World Outreach Church, Murfreesboro, TN. They were watching an interview with Dr. Ben Carson and Eric Metaxas. The ballroom seemed hidden somewhere.

A hotel staffer named Jim came to my aid. He said it would be easier to walk me over than to give directions. As we walked, I asked Jim what he did. I expected an answer like “Gaylord Opryland Shirpa,” but he’s the head of construction. From carpeting to roofing, he keeps the place in tip top shape. This walk was not in his job description for sure. But, if anybody knew the building, Jim was your man.

After a very long walk (Jim averages 9 miles a day himself), I arrived at the right spot. Jim had gone the extra mile or nine for me.

Even leaving the hotel yesterday, an employee walking to her car asked about my stay and talked about how much she loved working there. Their staff are their biggest fans.

Please Comment: What could the church learn from them?

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment


You’ll have to wait until Tuesday, August 16, 2011 for the review of Steve Gladen’s book, Small Groups with Purpose.



Leave a Comment

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

By Allen White

Employers can pay for an employee’s time. They can pay for an employee’s output. But, employers can’t pay for an employee’s best. The carrot and stick incentives of the last century no longer apply in the current workplace. According to Pink, extrinsic motivation and incentives have actually proven to be disincentives in many cases. So, how do you get the best out of people?

Pink focuses on three areas: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Employees who are given control over their own projects and even the ability to create projects on their own are by far more productive and more engaged than employees who are given monetary incentives. The more employers attempt to control their employees, the less productive they become. The more autonomy given to employees, the more engaged and productive they become.

Money does matter, but it’s not an adequate incentive for engagement. The role of money is simply that employers should pay their employees well enough that they don’t have money worries. But, beyond that, in knowledge work, money proves to be a disincentive. Given the ability to improve their skills or make a significant contribution to the world, employees can more easily reach “flow” in their work. Work becomes more like play. Time passes without notice. Employees are fully involved in their work.

Many innovative employers like Google offer “20 percent time” to their workers. This is an opportunity for employees to work on whatever project they choose while on the clock. Gmail was created by a Google employee during 20 percent time.

Goal setting and performance reviews can be motivating or demotivating depending on how they are proposed. An extrinsic set of goals is rarely achieved with a smile on the employees face. Intrinsic goals, however, are far more easily achieved. In fact, engaged employees will set goals for themselves even if the boss isn’t looking over their shoulder.

Pink offers a whole new take on human motivation. Employees are not Pavlov’s dog waiting for the bell to ring. Human beings have a higher purpose that each is uniquely designed to fulfill. The sooner that employers can identify and engage the activities that their employers will jump out of bed for, the sooner employers will find the key to not only productivity, but also creativity.

This book is especially significant to non-profits and volunteer organizations that depend on unpaid workers. How do you keep volunteers from becoming weary in well-doing? Pink’s findings are key to getting the best out of people.

To purchase a copy of Drive, CLICK HERE.


Free Mini-Course on Recruiting Leaders

Join our mailing list to receive Allen's latest thoughts on small groups.

You have Successfully Subscribed!