Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Learning to Fail Fast
"... Petrie advocates what he calls “vertical development” or the advancement in a person’s capacity to think in “more complex, systemic, strategic, and interdependent ways (in contrast to horizontal development that adds knowledge, skills, and competencies). New leaders must think differently before they can act differently.
Often the qualities we see in church leaders are precisely those most associated with a low level of vertical development (dependent/conformer) — team player, faithful follower, reliant on authority, seeks direction, and aligns with others. A smaller number function at the next level (independent/achiever) — independent thinker, self-directed, drives an agenda, takes a stand for what they believe, and guided by an internal compass. But today’s need is for the more highly developed independent/collaborator leader characterized as interdependent thinker; sees systems, patterns, and connections; longer-term thinking; holds multi-frame perspectives; and holds contradictions.
The new leader must be far more adaptable to changing circumstances. Collaboration is essential in order to span boundaries and develop networks. Leaders will need to be much more comfortable with ambiguity in order to be always looking for clues and patterns in the changing landscape. Just as important, this new way of leading must move beyond leaders to affect the entire organizational culture of the church. Congregations need to expect incomplete solutions, much trial and error, and a great deal of learning about themselves and their contexts. ..."
Amen. Reading this post brought to mind an article I read about Microsoft's evolving process of software development. It used to be that Microsoft developed an operating system, released it, and then tried to stabilize it over the next three years. In the meantime, the next system was being designed, but you were mostly stuck with a given format for three years. It was much like building a house and moving in until you moved again in three years, and for that reason each house had to be delivered pretty much as a fully functional operational house when you moved in. Now operating systems have ongoing updates. There are still occasional major revisions but there is also constant evolution and correction. The church has got think more that way as well. The article is somewhat lengthy but an interesting read: How Microsoft dragged its development practices into the 21st century