Multiplication Center

What can wildly successful organizations teach church leaders? (Free eBook)

October 9, 2017

Are any of these questions your questions?

  • Why doesn’t our church seem as “hot” as we used to be?
  • What has always been successful for us doesn’t seem to work as well anymore?
  • I wonder if we need to change some things, but what/how?
  • Do we have the right leaders in the right roles?
  • What’s the best organizational structure for our future growth?
  • How do I re-energize our people and our community to passionately engage?

These questions and more are discussed in the new Leadership Network Roadmap for Growth e-book. One of the nine foundational areas of church growth is Leadership, Staff and Volunteers: Designing Your Organization Model for Hyper-Growth.

Modern organizational design has remained unchanged for more than 100 years, until recently. Industry disruption has ignited the change, causing leaders of high capacity organizations to realize an important truth: either disrupt your own model or be disrupted!

In 1602, the Dutch East Indies Company became the first modern corporation. But it wasn’t until the 1850s that U.S. corporations created the first organizational chart. More than 50 years later, in 1906, a former seminary, Harvard University, created the first Master of Business Administration (MBA) program to equip leaders to run large organizations. Thus over 300 years passed between the advent of the first modern organization and the development of processes and tools to manage such organizations.

Fast forward to present day, the pace of change and the need for new models has increased. Leaders of today’s large organizations understand that without tools and structures for innovating, their chosen business models are vulnerable to disruptive market and cultural forces of change. The way people engage with organizations, like the local church, has changed dramatically and the pace of this change is accelerating.

For the evangelical church, we’re thankful for Bob Buford and Peter Drucker, along with a host of entrepreneurial pastors, supporting organizations, and consultants who saw dramatic movement in the model of the church, leading to the development of megachurches and, ultimately, multisite and multinational churches.

The pace of change continues to accelerate, shortening the time between each new model in business and ministry. In the near future, the model for any large organization, regardless of domain, may have a lifecycle of 18-24 months or less. The large organization of the future will need to be ambidextrous: possessing both a component that manages, implements and operates, and a component that continuously searches, prototypes, tests, and pivots to create an evergreen portfolio of new models of ministry poised for implementation. This new organizational model, already adopted by the largest and highest performing organizations in the world, is sustainable and enduring and more invincible to disruption. Your church will need to adapt continuously and at speed.

Marriott International is a great example of the new ambidextrous business model. Marriott is the largest hospitality company in the world with 5700 hotels in 110 countries across 30 distinct brand experiences. Fortune Magazine ranked them the #1 Most Admired Hotel Company in the World for 2017. Fast Company Magazine ranked them one of the Top Innovators in the World. For the last 90 years, Marriott has continuously adapted their business model and organization to deliver sustained market growth. As with other public corporations, their growth and impact are measured quarterly in the “court” of investors, analysts and business partners called the “Quarterly Investors Conference Call”.

So how does Marriott’s organization design allow these two seemingly different ambidextrous parts of their organization to influence its direction? In other words, how can the largest hotel company in the world be BOTH admired as an operator AND admired as an innovator? There are 3 primary components to Marriott’s structure and governance model that allow these 2 “voices” to have a seat at the executive level and ultimately the board:

  1. The top leadership to the “operate” structure and the top leadership of the “innovate” structure both report directly to the CEO.
  2. Marriott recognizes in its franchise operating model that they have 2 customers: the traveler who rents room space in their hotels and the franchisee and owner of the hotel who owns and operates the hotel. Marriott has a well-established network of Business Councils that regularly engages with and listens to the voice of the franchisee and owners. Marriott International reserves final decision authority for the work in the Business Councils (they are not boards) but the spirit of collaboration clearly benefits all stakeholders. Much of their innovation comes from the ideas and input captured from these discussions. Additionally, Marriott has an exceptional technology platform where it captures real-time input from travelers and captures analytics and insight from their experiences to inform further innovations. Last, while its strategic suppliers are not customers, they have an innovative model of partnerships who are incentivized to bring innovations that are tested in the Marriott International headquarters Innovation Labs in Bethesda, Maryland. An example of this is its strategic innovation partnership with IKEA related to room and bathroom design components.
  3. Marriott’s reward and incentive systems include BOTH demonstrated impact from operating excellence and innovation.

Recently, Marriott International hosted pastors and their leadership teams from 15 of the world’s largest multisite churches in a three-day collaboration between Marriott International and Leadership Network. Marriott senior leaders provided Innovation Bursts on a range of topics designed to provide a catalyst for ministry model adaptation and innovation for these 15 highly successful churches. Leadership Network facilitated a series of Prototype Design Sprints to assist in capturing insights in site multiplication, partnership structures, brand segmentation and ministry model innovation. Each of these churches is adapting its model of ministry to speed excellence in operations and innovation with a focus on accelerating the geographic scale of their multisite campus models.

Does your church organization possess the “ambidextrous” qualities of the highest performing organizations like Marriott International? What can you learn from them?

Leadership Network can help you and your team evaluate your organizational capacity and alignment to ensure you are maximizing your Kingdom impact. Click or tap on the button below to learn how and to download our free Roadmap for Growth ebook.

Dick Blanc
Director, RoadMap

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