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From Transaction to Transformational

When Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Balmer as CEO of Microsoft in 2014, he took the helm of a once thriving company that now seemed adrift.     The problem was not so much profitability but a stagnant culture.     The company that Bill Gates founded was now more concerned about return on investment than creativity.    According to Mark Miller in Culture Rules , the emphasis was on transaction rather than transformation.   In 2015, Nadella unveiled a new mission: “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”  This was definitely a desire to be transformational rather than simply transactional.  But how would he help create a culture to achieve this aspirational goal?   To accomplish this, Nadella challenged every frontline leader to model, coach, and care.   First, the leader should have a growth mindset and embody the values of the organization.  A leader should be committed to an expansive and productive future for himself/herself and for the company.
Recent posts

Culture Rules: A Review

Culture is the water in which we swim; it is the air we breathe.     The culture of our organization is something we tend to accept without really understanding it.     And culture makes all the difference about whether our organization thrives or fails.    Despite what we declare as our mission or vision, the organization—church or other—will prosper only if the culture provides the proper environment.   In his latest book, Mark Miller makes a deep dive into culture.  In Culture Rules , he provides three simple guides for creating and sustaining a culture for a thriving organization.  The rules are Aspire, Amplify, and Adapt. This is the task of a leader.   First, aspire—share your hopes and dreams for the culture.   Second, amplify—assure that the cultural aspiration is reinforced continuously.   Third, adapt—always work to enhance the culture.   Unlike most of his previous books, this is not a management parable but a well-researched volume that share lessons from a diverse group of

Are You Building Walls or Bridges?

Sometimes we struggle with the more brutal passages of the Hebrew Bible.     For example, when the Israelites conquer the Promised Land, there are many bloody battles, including the taking of the city of Jericho.     Joshua 6:21 reports that the victors   “devoted   the city to the   Lord   and destroyed   with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.”     Although we may cringe at these events that seem to be sanctioned by God, but we can learn something from the mindset of the citizens of Jericho.  When the men who Joshua sent to spy out the land arrived at Jericho, they found a great walled city. A friend was teaching on the passage several years ago and made this comment: “People who are afraid build walls.”  His conclusion is that the citizens of Jericho were not only in a defensive but a fearful mode.  My friend went on to say, “People of faith build bridges.”   I was talking with a seminary student recently, and she came around

Letting the Spirit Speak

My wife and I like to watch mysteries.  We have recently been getting up to date on Vienna Blood, a PBS series that features Max Liebermann, a young neurologist in early 20 th  century Vienna, who is a disciple of Sigmund Freud.  In addition to solving crimes with his police colleague,  Detective Oskar Rheinhardt , Liebermann is an advocate of talk cure or therapy—dealing with psychological challenges and trauma through conversation.   There are many ways to think of the situation that many churches find themselves in these days.  I suggest that one option is to think of the church as the victim of trauma.  COVID, financial difficulties, burned-out clergy, departing members—all are traumatic experiences that need to be processed.  One way to address these is through conversation.   As we engage in such conversations, we are not only hearing the personal stories of individuals, but we might very well be hearing the voice of the Spirit of God.  In conversation with a trained therapist,

The Church is in Decline: What a Great Opportunity for the Church!

The church in North America is in decline.  This was the trend before pandemic, political polarization in congregations, and division over social issues.  Those events have only accelerated that decline.  In recent days, two excellent articles based on good research addressed both the reality of a  mass exodus  and  why people are leaving . So, what does that mean for us?   The church as an institution is caught in a tsunami of cultural, social, and demographic forces—all of which seem to be peaking at one time.  The interesting point is that this comes as a surprise to many church leaders and adherents of the faith.  If we are realistic, this crisis is a natural consequence of the way that we have done church for over half a century.  I know because I have lived through it.   The Church (big C—the Church Universal) has continued to thrive over two thousand years because of its ability to build on two key qualities—spiritual vitality and relational vitality.  In  Leading Congregational

Opportunities for the “Very Old”

This was part of the text for my Bible study lesson this past Sunday:   In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. (Luke 1:5-7, NIV)   As I read Adam Hamilton’s commentary on this passage, I was pleased that he devoted a significant portion of his comments to the contributions that the “very old” are still able to make to the work of the Kingdom.   In reality, Zechariah (and Elizabeth) were probably at least two decades younger than I am right now.  As a priest, Zechariah would have been expected to start giving up his duties at the age of 50.  Of course, if someone reached the age of 60 in the New Testament world, their longevity was not only exceptional but seen as

The Church will Prevail

And   I   tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock   I   will   build   my   church , and the gates of Hades   will   not overcome   i t.(Matthew 16:18, NIV)   I probably spend more time on social media than I should, but I find it a good way to keep in touch with how my friends at the grassroots feel about the church—both laity and clergy.   A big theme I pick up goes something like this: “The church is in decline and is losing its influence.  I just hope it lasts one more generation for me and my family or until I retire from ministry.”   Such thoughts are not new.  There have been many times in the last two thousand years when the church has been counted out. Even so, it is still here.   Perhaps we should clarify some terms.  What do we mean when we use the word “church”?  The Church (big C) was established by Christ.  In theological terms, when we use big C for church, we are talking about the Church Universal—all believers, in all expressions, in all times.  When we use the t