Organic vs Organizational Tools
Many ministries do the same thing, everyday. They are using the wrong tools to get jobs done right. This happens because the tools that they really need are out of their intellectual reach (lack of knowledge and understanding); or simply, not available (didn’t know they existed). Now, I realize that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of specific tools people and ministries use; but for sake of simplicity, I have combined all of these tools into two categories – organic and organizational. Regardless of the type of activity that people and ministries engage in, both organic and organizational tools are absolutely vital to health and success. In fact, this revelation has caused the re-alignment and transformation of many ministries around the world. So much so, that research articles, best-selling books, and philosophical treatises have been written on this subject in volumes! To better understand the difference (and importance) of organic and organizational tools, we must first look at history. For many years modern society has ascribed to a traditional or classic approach to organizational structure, which was born out of the Industrial Revolution. Organizations have been defined as well-oiled machines – efficient, reliable, and predictable. In order to keep things running smoothly, these mechanical-like structures relied heavily upon the efficiency of all its parts (including people), strict standards, and formal procedures. Maximum productivity happened as long as the organizational environment remained stable with little or no change at all. But times have changed; so has organizational design. Today’s successful ministries have turned to organic, rather than mechanical models. Organic models suggest that ministries are more like living organisms capable of adapting to their environment. The ministry is composed of interdependent, closely-connected cells, each requiring proper nourishment for the entire ministry to be stay healthy. The organizational environment is characterized by steady change, organic transformation, and forward progress. Future success and growth of all ministries is dependent upon leaders knowing the difference between organic and organizational tools. Church growth experts suggest that any lack of knowledge or misunderstanding could prove disastrous to ministry health and growth. Consider the following distinctions: Organic tools: • Empower People • Build Relationships • Create Community Organizational tools: • Empower Processes • Build Resources • Create Congruency Keep in mind that all ministries are made up of people (organic entities) and resources (organized things). We must remember that people are the most valuable assets. This implies that organic life supersedes organizational effort; in other words, organism is best served by organization. If the opposite occurs, people are reduced to impersonal, “human resources” – things to be used in getting things done. This causes enormous problems for organizations, especially plagued by poor communications. Research confirms that 90% of all problems associated with organizational environments is traced back to poor communications. Research suggests that communication is more than broadcasted, concise information. Unless there is intrinsic, comprehensive understanding, communication fall short, spark misunderstanding, and sabotage relationships. As for me, I rally behind the importance of both, organic and organizational tools. However, I do get frustrated with vendors who try to push organizational tools as the proper tool for building an “organic environment.” This is especially true for new technology, which provides both organic and organizational tools. For many years the technological market has been flooded with organizational tools that “keeps things straight” and get the job done more efficiently. In the last few years, the technology market (software designers) have produced organic tools that are specifically designed to “connect” people in good relationships and build community. There are only a handful of vendors who offer these valuable tools, which are widely needed. In the business world, these new organic tools are being herald by analysis as extremely vital to our future global economy. Successful, growing ministries are fast learning that forcing organizational tools to do the job of organic tools is fruitless; and sometimes, quite hazardous. Using the right tool for the right job can make work easier, more productive, and enjoyable. With the “winds of change” blowing across the global landscape, successful ministries are weathering the storms. They are drawing up “organic blueprints” along with their organizational designs. They use both organizational tools to re-engineer, and organic tools to ignite transformation (change, progress, and growth). People come alive; ministries move forward!
………………………………………………………………………………. “God orchestrates personal relationships for divine purposes.”