This week we are covering Leadership Pipeline, a concept and framework for churches to develop leaders at every level of ministry. Over the course of the week we will share a blog post and a podcast each day. We are also offering a free e-booklet called Developing Your Leadership Pipeline which can be downloaded here. If what you read and hear interests you be sure to register for our upcoming webinar, “Leadership Pipeline: The Role of the Volunteer.” Here is part three.
Leadership pipeline represents both competencies at leadership levels and skills needed to transition from one level of leadership to the next. In most organizations, the pipeline is bent in multiple places. Each of these bends or passages represents a change in organizational position—a different level and complexity of leadership—where a significant mind shift must be made. These turns involve a change in job requirements, which demand new skills, time applications, and work values. The number one spot where leaders wash out is along transition points.
When people become skilled individual contributors who produce good results, especially demonstrating an ability to collaborate with others, then they usually receive additional responsibilities. When they handle these responsibilities well and adhere to the organization’s values, then they often receive promotions to oversee others.
When this promotion happens, an individual is at leadership passage one, moving from contributing as an individual volunteer or employee to leading others. Though this transition might seem easy and natural, people often trip at passage one. The highest-performing people are often reluctant to change and tend to keep doing the activities that made them successful. As a result, many fail to make that sharp turn, from being an individual contributor to leading others. Without a mind shift in behavior, time allocations, work values, and new skills, an individual will fail or flounder.
These leadership passages are lined with core competencies, culture-forming content, and role-based training. We must ensure that everyone knows where we are going and where each individual fits to make the next steps easy, obvious, and strategic.
Communicating next steps is vitally important because most training is like a cruise to nowhere. Yes, these cruises actually exist. You begin with no particular destination and set out to sea. The ship meanders along the water for a few days, without visiting any destination and ultimately you end up right back where you started. Unfortunately, this analogy holds true when it comes to training in many churches. If you are lucky, then you get on board and training exists. You may even choose your training from a buffet or get a categorized menu. But the reality is that no one really knows where the training will take them. There is no itinerary or port of call. You simply go through the motions and end up right back where you started. May it never be in our local churches.
If all this seems complex or maybe like a nebulous concept be sure to register for our free webinar that’s coming up on March 17 – Leadership Pipeline: The Role of the Volunteer. During the webinar Danny Franks, the Connections pastor at The Summit Church in North Carolina will present on what it looks like to start people down the leadership pipeline. It will be practical and clear. My podcast co-host, Barnabas Piper, and I will also field viewer questions with Danny. It will be a great event and you don’t want to miss it.