Eight Characteristics of Healthy Systems
Tony Morgan wrote a helpful post for church leaders -- Unstuck: Eight Characteristics of Healthy Sytems:
- They empower leaders to accomplish ministry without always having to get permission. Without systems, every decision must go back to the senior pastor, the senior management team, the committee, etc. In his book Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky said it this way, “The more people who lie awake in bed thinking about your idea, the better. But people only obsess about ideas when they feel a sense of ownership.” Good systems will give leaders the freedom to make decisions within established boundaries.
- They are embraced and championed by the top leadership. It does absolutely no good for systems to be established that top leadership doesn’t support and encourage everyone to use. If the top leaders can’t endorse the system, you’re not ready to implement the system.
- They mobilize many people rather than leaning on a select handful of talented individuals. If your system is “contact Joe for more information”, you don’t have a system. If your system is “go hear Joe teach on the topic”, you don’t have a system. You have a gifted individual. Good systems point people to next steps (processes, tools, resources, etc.) rather than specific people.
- They simplify the path. The objective is to create just enough of a framework to make it easier for people. Good systems are intuitive. Typically the fewer the steps, the better the systems. If you want to improve a system, challenge your team to figure out how to reduce the steps required. And, whatever you do, make sure your “customer” doesn’t have to guess where to go next.