Session 7: Andy Stanley

Under the leadership of Andy Stanley, North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, has become one of the largest and most innovative churches in the United States. Founded in 1995, the church has grown to three campuses and a weekly attendance of more than 22,000 people. They have also helped plant more than 20 strategic partner churches across North America. Stanley is a dynamic speaker and author whose books include VisioneeringNext Generation Leader, and Communicating for a Change. His latest volume, The Principle of the Path, explores a basic truth that can eliminate regret, as it helps to successfully move people from where they are to where they want to go.

The Upside of Tension

  • As a young leader it was always easy to look at more mature leaders and think that it came easy, and they were perfect.
  • I came into leadership with a lot of myths, one was this myth of “no problems”
  • If you have all these problems, then you’re not a good leader. But in fact it is the opposite, good leaders have these problems, but they leverage them to cause them to be a growth engine.
  • If you can touch your thumb to your finer then it means you are a primate. It is amazing thing even though we take it for granted. This is pressure and tension.
  • This is illustrating something that takes place every single day in your organization and your team.
  • Recognizing this simple principal will help you create a third category.
  • Every organization has problems that shouldn’t be solved and tensions that shouldn’t be resolved.
    • It’s not a problem you can solve, it is something you have to manage.
    • What are the problems that shouldn’t be solved? And what are the tensions that shouldn’t be resolved?
    • There are problems you should never solve, and there are tensions you should never resolve.
  • If you resolve any of those tensions, you will create new tension.
    • Ex: We’re going to do everything with excellence, no matter what it cost.
    • What happens when you do all theology, and no application? You’re presbyterian (joke)
  • If you resolve any of those tensions, you create a barrier to progress
  • Progress depends not on the resolution of those tensions, but on the management of those tensions.
    • How do you know the difference?
    • Ask three questions:
    • Does this problem or tension keep resurfacing?
    • Are there are mature advocates on both sides?
    • Are the two sides really interdependent?
  • The role of leadership is to leverage the tension to benefit the organization.
    • Identify the tensions to be managed in your organization
    • Create terminology – “I guess thats a tension we have to manage” – When you create terminology, you create for your entire team a third category. When you get two strong personalities, if there is no third category then it becomes win/lose.
    • Inform your core – Make sure your key players understand this principle. It allows certain discussions to go better. Certain tensions are key to progress.
    • Continually give value to both sides
    • Don’t weigh-in too heavily based on your personal biases – Understand the upside of the opposite and the downside of your side.
    • Don’t allow strong personalities to win the day – You need passionate people who will champion their side, but you need mature people who sees the reality.
    • Don’t think in terms of balance, you have to think in terms of rhythm – As a leader never try to be fair.

As a leader, one of the most valuable things you can do for your organization, is evaluate between tensions and problems that should be solved, and those that shouldn’t be solved.

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