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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Changing Deeply for Excellence

Written by: on May 10, 2018

Heaven

To change organizations, one must experience deep change within, so in the end, “excellence is infectious”[1]for personal and organizational change. “Insights into one level help us understand the other better”[2]as we develop a symbiotic relationship with the organization and the individual. The following are points Quinn gave to develop a deep change in the person and in the organization.

Changing Oneself

 Be organic for “only organic individuals can create an organic organization.”[3]Learning how to have integrity with your beliefs and behavior as the leader operates from a place of authenticity allows for authenticity to evolve in organizations. When misalignment comes from operating against the values you promote, then this affects the stability of the individual and the organization. An example of this is a mentoring program in our community was recently shut down due to the director being caught in a sting implicating him in a child sex ring. His lack of organic and authentic behavior caused both the individual and the organization to end in disaster.

Be open-minded and embrace the concept that sometimes “we need to alter our fundamental assumptions, rules, or paradigms and develop new theories about ourselves and our surrounding environment.”[4]When I first had my kids, I thought I was going to be a stay-at-home mom until I became one. Two short years later, the pain of missing my work woke me up[5], and Jake and I had to change our fundamental beliefs, assumptions, and ultimately jobs to create a life that better suited us. This could not have happened had we not been open-minded to new theories, roles, and paradigms that guided us in our transition. Change can be a painful and “this tortuous journey requires that we leave our comfort zone and step outside side our normal roles.”[6]Looking back, I can see how the evolution process was necessary I had two choices: “either adapt or take the road to slow death.”[7]I chose adaptation but not without fear.

Be fearless for “our fears blind us to the possibilities of excellence.”[8]It is normal for individuals to be afraid that as we pursue what we fear most than “after a while, terror turns to faith.”[9]As a high-schooler, I recognized it was my fear holding me back from operating in faith, and it was then, I chose my life verse: “For God has not given me the spirit of timidity but of power, love, and a sound mind.”[10]This truth is written into my personal mission statement and guides me in my life decisions where I feel fear encroaching on my dreams and life. “Traveling naked into the land of uncertainty”[11]can be terrifying yet thrilling as we learn from the unknown and develop an inner strength and capacity we didn’t know we had.

Changing Organizations

An organic, open-minded, fearless leader creates organizations that operate on principles of authenticity, creativity, and love as they strive towards excellence and cohesive teamwork.

Developing teamwork is a core objective if a leader desires to create life and vitality to an organization. Quinn defines the task of the transformative leader: “The leader can transform separate individuals into cohesive teams. So linked, these individuals can communicate without words. They can capture the imagination of larger communities, enticing them to dream new dreams.”[12]Being a part of a church plant has reminded me of the challenge of creating teamwork and the skills required to do so. It requires knowing one another well so you can anticipate each other’s moves and responses. I became a part of the leadership team shortly before they decided to launch. Since it takes about two years to know people and the church is now 2 years old, I am just getting to really know the leadership team. In hindsight, it would have been easier for us to get to know each other better before we launched an organization together. Quinn gives the best definition of a team I’ve ever heard: “a team is an enthusiastic set of competent people who have clearly defined roles, associated in a common activity, working cohesively in trusting relationships, and exercising personal discipline and making individual sacrifices for the good of the team.”[13]This is much easier defined than accomplished, and requires a great working knowledge of self and others to best accomplish this.

Developing excellence in an organization is the ultimate motivational goal of changing deeply and “involves analyzing each individual situation and determining what is right. It entails good communication, cooperation, high expectations, risk, and trust.”[14]Not only does excellence demand healthy teamwork, it also requires that the organization “must care enough about an activity to insist that it fully meets and exceeds the demands of its audience.”[15]When I visited a fast-growing church in California, it was obvious that excellence was a core value of the church as even their parking attendants exceeded my expectation in their friendliness and helpfulness. Achieving excellence can feel a bit like striving for perfection, making it a daunting task, so it is a relief when Quinn reminds us that excellence is dynamic and cannot be sustained indefinitely. I suppose that is what heaven will be, constant excellence.

In closing, “personal and organizational excellence demands experimentation, reflection, and evaluation, and these things, in turn, lead to learning and growth.”[16]Trial and error are required elements for developing excellence because we learn from our successes and mistakes as we walk fearlessly in faith and achieve a little taste of heaven on earth.

 

[1]Robert E. Quinn, Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within, (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1996), 43, Kindle.

[2]Ibid., 119-120, Kindle.

[3]Ibid., 145, Kindle.

[4]Ibid., 150-151, Kindle.

[5][5]Samuel Chand, Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth,(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2015), 11.

[6]Ibid., 174, Kindle.

[7]Ibid., 135, Kindle.

[8]Ibid., 203, Kindle.

[9]Ibid., 209, Kindle.

[10]II Timothy 1:7

[11]Ibid., 207-208, Kindle.

[12]Ibid., 41-42, Kindle.

[13]Ibid., 1349-1350, Kindle.

[14]Ibid., 1385-1386, Kindle.

[15]Ibid., 1392-1393, Kindle.

[16]Ibid., 1393-1394, Kindle.

 

About the Author

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Jennifer Dean-Hill

5 responses to “Changing Deeply for Excellence”

  1. Lynda Gittens says:

    Jennifer thank you for your insight on change. I appreciate your closing “personal and organizational excellence demands experimentation, reflection, and evaluation, and these things, in turn, lead to learning and growth.”
    Excellence demands – I love that because a church organization continues to speak the words “we do everything in excellence”, yet there is no evidence of excellence in their service. Instead of talking about it, the Pastor needs to demand. of course, also lead by example.
    Thanks for that word.

  2. Mary says:

    These are all great insights and are reflected in the workbook. The core principles are there and your post covers the main ideas. I must say I did enjoy using the movies as a way to discuss the various aspects of Deep Change.
    But I want to respond to “Trial and error are required elements for developing excellence because we learn from our successes and mistakes as we walk fearlessly in faith and achieve a little taste of heaven on earth.” It’s that fear factor. How much does that play into self-change? I would really like to know from you what you observe about that in your ministry. As we self-reflect, should we try and determine if the reason we are reluctant to change is our fear of something?

  3. mm Katy Drage Lines says:

    “Quinn defines the task of the transformative leader: ‘The leader can transform separate individuals into cohesive teams. So linked, these individuals can communicate without words. They can capture the imagination of larger communities, enticing them to dream new dreams.'” This sounds like a wonderful image. It makes me think of Jesus gathering the hodge-podge of followers into a (mostly) coherent bunch of apostles.

    Now that you’re coming on to two years in the church plant, I imagine you can look back on it and think about what ya’ll did well and should’ve done differently. I’m curious what you’d come up with.

  4. Jim Sabella says:

    Jenn, I always appreciate your insights. Sometimes I think it’s more difficult to change “me” than it is to change an organization. You are right, one must be fearless in both instances. Since organizations are people, deep change needs to begin at a personal level. Thanks for highlighting that in your post.

  5. Kristin Hamilton says:

    Jen, as I read through your list I kept thinking how this all applies to every relationship we have and every organization in which we invest ourselves. Keeping myself organic, open-minded, and fearless is a recipe for personal strength as well as leadership. Thank you!

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