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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

20 Nov '14

You cannot see the picture if you are inside the frame

How often we are blind to the issues within our own organizations that in retrospect we wish we had seen. It is often a challenge to see what we need to see without a great deal of intentionality because you cannot see the picture if you are inside the frame. All of us live and work within certain frames and it is difficult to see the whole picture from our vantage point. It is the very reason we bring in consultants. They may not be brighter than us but they can see the picture better than we can.

There are ways to mitigate against not being able to see the forest for the trees. One is to intentionally maintain an outside perspective by asking how others would see our organization. Or, what would I say if I were a consultant to my own organization? Another is to routinely question why we do things the way we do, or "if we were building this today how would we design it?" Usually we would design it differently than it is designed today. Should we do something about that? In other words, we intentionally seek to look at our way of doing things from the outside rather than just assuming we do them well.

This is also why the best leaders spend time with other leaders asking them about issues that they wonder about. Many leaders never do this because they simply assume they have it down. None of us have it down perfectly or are exempt from learning from others. Run of the mill leaders are not inquisitive but the best leaders are.

Finally this conundrum of perspective is why it is so critical to create an organizational culture of openness, candid dialogue and the ability to question the status quo. It is the absence of this kind of culture (usually due to the insecurity of a leader) that keeps our own staff from naming issues that need to be seen. Staff will not go where they are not invited or allowed to go so leaders either create this kind of culture or don't depending on their own EQ.

There is one thing I can assure all of us. None of us see perfectly from inside the frame. That fact in itself ought to humble us and give us pause. And cause us to work diligently to see as much of the picture as we can.

All of T.J. Addington's books are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 discount on orders of ten or more.