October 17, 2005
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank


Dear Marketplace Friend, 

      Bragging rights. You know about bragging rights; it's a pretty common game when you're around the right people. If you're with family - or friends who are that close - you seldom play. When folks who know you best are nearby, they know you too well to be impressed with your "news." Really flashy stuff; adventure travel; blown-out sales quotas; dinner with famous people: things like that bring a "wow" from the faces outside your close-in circle. People who know you best are likely to yawn...
      I have a bragging-rights moment that I trot out occasionally: it was my meeting with Peter Drucker. A few years ago, Bob Buford invited me to spend the morning with Mr. Drucker (it was just Bob, Peter, me... and 35 other leaders). It was "Drucker, Unplugged;" he was unscripted, interactive... and unrestrained. One nice thing about being 90+ and outliving the competition: you don't have to watch your mouth.
      In the unstructured interchange, a question was raised about "team-think." What was his perspective about group decision making? "I'm glad that the American fascination with shared leadership is fading. It never worked in Japan, and it won't work here. Teams were proposed as the answer to bad leadership. The antidote to bad leadership is not team leadership; the solution to bad leadership is good leadership." (My recollection of his comments, though not word-for-word quotation).
      Sitcom fans remember the short-lived series, Who's the Boss. Toddler talk moves from "mama" to "dadda" to "I wuv you"... to, "You're not the boss of me." Family scenes get foggy when someone is accused of being "bossy." If someone was keeping score, the negative spins on leaders - and leadership - may exceed the positive energy raised by the rank-and-file.
      Columbus got last Monday; Veterans are readying their medals for their upcoming Day. Labor was last month; Secretaries got the applause in the Spring, after the Resurrection and before Mothers. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth is Month #1; Jesus of Nazareth is Month #12. Days of Honor are a dime-a-dozen; I'll bet you missed yesterday's...
      Boss's Day: October 16, 2005. Surprised? News to you? Who was the genius who scheduled Boss's Day on a Sunday... when 90% of America is off work and won't even have to see the Boss? What do you get the man/woman who has all the power... and could choose to fire you? At the risk of getting the wrong thing, you're better off pretending you didn't even know it happened. Brides register at Crate & Barrel; where do Bosses register: Office Depot?
      Interesting: bosses have one day... and aren't likely to be remembered. Pastors have a whole month (October)... and are just as likely to be invisible. Pastor Appreciation Month comes and goes each year... without incident. (Who's got time to worry about pastors... when you have to get ready for Halloween?)
      What bosses are at work, pastors are at church. In the Franchise Manual for local church operations, God put some pretty significant instructions in place to orchestrate the healthy relationships within the spiritual chain of command: "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17)
      We've suffered from the Americanization of the faith. As a populace, Americans have become pretty cynical about leaders. The constitution says we vote every few years... and then the winners/leaders are supposed to lead. Today, we think the polls are the daily reinstatement - or, not - of their position. If you don't "support" them... you're not bound to their leadership. Does that work?
      It sure wasn't God's plan for His church. Obey. Submit. Those directives don't have much wiggle-room. The leaders - the pastors/elders in God's church - are supposed to experience joy in their role. One way to ensure that is to express appreciation for their sacrificial efforts. Have you done that this month?
      Write him a note; give him a gift certificate; show him you're grateful. Then, pass this e-mail on to ten friends from church...

Bob Shank


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