I recently read an interview between SmartMoney and Frank Blake, CEO of Home Depot. Blake is credited with remodeling the 2,200-store home-improvement chain during a tough real estate market. The interview asked Blake what he looked for during his frequent store walks. He replied,
“I rarely make a specific store-related comment. I don’t want it to be a career-ending thing when I walk into a store and it is bad. I’m not so much interested in the individual store as what the individual store might say about larger issues.”
Instead of focusing on individual problems, Blake concentrates on the big picture issues.
This is a very wise strategy for pastors and other church leaders to remember. It is easy to react emotionally to a problem instead of asking, “How is our system broken and what needs to be fixed?” In my experience, ninety percent of the time the problem is a systems issue rather than a people issue. In either case, reacting emotionally rarely helps.
Think about it this way. We’re counseled to never punish our children when we’re angry. What would happen if we applied this principle to our leadership? What if instead of allowing a culture of fear to fester in our organizations, we used problems as opportunities for leadership coaching and systems improvements?
Click here to read the interview in its entirety.