July 25, 2005
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank


Dear Marketplace Friend, 

      He'll be 96 on his next birthday (November 19th, if you'd like to send a card), but don't dismiss him as "out of it," or irrelevant. In fact, if you had the opportunity to clear your schedule of alternative activity and spend a day in his presence, you'd get crackin' on it. Peter Drucker is a legend ...

      Drucker continues to challenge organizational leaders - for-profit and non-profit - to higher levels of leadership effectiveness. He's part classic-consultant (folks who are paid to ask the right questions) and part business theorist (folks who are paid to have the right answers). "One of a kind" is not empty praise for him.

      The "Father of Modern Management" defines self-assessment as the first action required of leaders. He presents five questions that leaders must be able to answer before they can lead well: What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? What is our plan? If business was a game show, a CEO could not win the grand prize with less than a 5-for-5 score in the bonus round.

      If you're part of this eternal, international enterprise called "The Kingdom of God" (KoG), you have access to the answers in the Boss's book. The layers of management in KoG are usually taken through a graduate school (seminary) curriculum exploring the finer details of the Manual ... but sometimes it seems that the Answers to the Questions are hiding in the Hebrew, or glossed-over in the Greek. "Church" (the KoG was supposed to be virtual - the primary operational staff were to work from their own homes, rather than from a central compound) can come-off as an ecclesiastical equivalent of an Elks Lodge - where the members have to know the secret handshake and keep their dues current to get into the windowless "inner sanctum" for the Weekend Brunch. From the salad bar (the "call to worship") to the dessert tray (the "closing prayer"), they nibble or gorge their way through the experience ... and can drive out of the members-only parking lot with no plans to reconnect until next weeks' brunch bunch reconvenes ...

      Listen, I know that it's "summertime," and we're all supposed to be "on holiday," soakin' up the sun in some enviable locale that provides down pillows and downtime ... but I want to take advantage of your temporarily-unemployed brain cells to stir up your thinking, during these Dog Days of Summer.

      I've written this weekly piece for 15 years (that's over 700 one-page sermonettes!), and they've all been one-parters. In a break from tradition. In the six Mondays from now until Labor Day, I want to engage your leadership juices regarding your role in the KoG. Have you ever taken the time to ponder the profound - the overarching organizational dynamics - in the context of the Kingdom?

      Too often, the Protestant branch of the Christian community brags about the Reformation the way that Americans brag about the Revolution: enjoying some of the benefits of the principled actions of valiant people who put life on the line for what they believed to be right. One of the tenets of the Reformation was "the priesthood of all believers." The vital work of the KoG is not reserved for a blue-blood category called "clergy;" instead, all true citizens of Heaven have been given a vital role in the movement. Some of the "professionals" (clergy) are leaders ... and some are not. Some of the "volunteers" (laity) are leaders ... and some are not. How do you know if you're a leader? That's simple: it comes down to your non-biological DNA. If your life positions you in leadership, Monday-Friday ... you're a leader. Could you be a better one? Probably. Are you expected to lead? If you're in that category, the answer is "yes." Are you leading?

      If you're a Christian - and, a leader - it follows that you are ... a Christian leader. As such, the Drucker questions are for you to address: In the KoG, What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? What is our plan? Have you explored those issues lately?

      This is usually a one-way diatribe ("a prolonged discourse"), rather than a two-way dialog ("a conversation between two persons"). From now until September, I'd love to hear back from you (insight: you can hit "reply" and give me your feedback!) In the next five Mondays, we're going to address the five Questions. I don't know if you hit "Save" for these weekly missives, but you might want to start ...

      Your company's on vacation, but heaven is open for business. The management team is meeting ...

Bob Shank


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