What? An Organization that Unleashes the Missionary? (1.30)

I’ve written some about our experience working in Communist countries in the 70’s and 80’s.  After 25 years, the recent Olympics gave another view of how things work in countries with a strong “hierarchy.”  Fifty-one billion dollars can get the job (almost) done in seven years, yet the “wooden” shower doors lock and must be busted out of by the athletes.

When a person sets up an organization, they need to consider it’s structure and social characteristics.  As you’ve seen from my blog, the trend today is away from hierarchy to a more “collegial” approach, even within hierarchical systems.  And the Bible also  identifies dangers of creating an organization that functions with a hierarchical system.


In this article in Forbes magazine (first printed in Gary Hamel’s M-Prize site for unlocking human potential)  written by Jacob Morgan, we see several more principles about building an organization that motivates and unleashes its workers.

How To Build A Boundary-less Organizationmaxus-boundaryless-world

The first and most important truth any leader must understand is that the human beings who work inside every kind of organization possess unlimited potential. They have the ability to solve any problem and the adaptability to respond to unforeseen circumstances. It may be the most overworked truism in the business world, but employees are indeed the most valuable resource and asset that any company has.

The problem: most organizations today are unable to tap into that limitless human potential because of a series of self-imposed boundaries.  Unlocking this potential means challenging the many assumptions that we have about work today:

  • the incontestability of hierarchy,
  • the importance of putting in time in the office,
  • semi-annual employee reviews,
  • valuing the voice of the customer but not of the employee, and
  • the restriction of vital information to preserve rank.

Organizations and their leaders must strive to break three common boundaries in order to unleash all of the talent and contribution lying in wait.

The first is role-based: communication and collaboration is restricted by seniority level. How could a lowly entry-level employee possibly engage with a senior manager or worse… an executive!

The second type of boundary is around departments and function. Marketing folks stick with their peers in marketing, sales with sales, product development with product development and information and potential opportunities for innovation remain stuck within silos.

The third most common type of boundary is geographic—employees in one office or location simply don’t “see” their peers in another.

Escaping these persistent and pernicious boundaries to communication, contribution and collaboration requires three key shifts in an organization.  (stay tuned)

(Jacob Morgan is the author of the Amazon best-selling book, The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving Your Internal Business Challenges Using Social and Collaborative Tools (McGraw Hill).


About Dave Grissen

David & Sheri Grissen spent 44 years in mission and humanitarian aid work. In 2003 they established Life Impact, a ministry of strengthening Christian workers in hosted centers, called Oases. Presently 12 Oases are functioning. www.LifeImpactMinistries.net. In 2016 they started Fund The Ministry to help missionaries create new funding for their ministries. www.FundTheMinistry.com. They have five married children and fifteen grandchildren.
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4 Responses to What? An Organization that Unleashes the Missionary? (1.30)

  1. Dave Grissen says:

    Neal, thanks for sharing your paper with us. The problem I see with any “volunteer” helpers — and that includes mission committee members — is that their focus of life is elsewhere and their time is applied to that focus. I guess a mission pastor should be the one taking the point on managing and providing care since they get paid for their work. Of course, a church could recruit a “finisher” who has a bent, even a calling?, to hang with the missionaries the church supports.

    • Dave Grissen says:

      That’s a good point, and there are a few still around as some of our staff are finding as they prepare to head for the field.

  2. Dave Grissen says:

    Dave — any ideas how to get more collaboration and connection between these entities in an organic way, without it being a one-time event, or contrived, I mean? To do something like that takes a somebody, money, vision, energy and a sense of need on the part of the various elements. Realistic?

  3. Dave Grissen says:

    Neal — just downloaded the paper you mentioned and saw the tremendous number of resources on “Care” you have on your website — all at the touch of a button. Thanks for providing all of those. I’ll remind our staff again of your tremendous resources. http://www.eri.org

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