There are many factors that play into organizational momentum, but from my consulting experience, there are three elements that are present in high momentum organizations.
1. Credible Leaders
Credible leaders are those who are viewed as trustworthy and proven. These are leaders that employees, followers, and donors believe can do the right things and will do things right. While character is a vital part of this, there is much more. Credible leaders:
- Always act with integrity
- Do what they say they will do
- Admit mistakes quickly and try to correct them
- Solve problems and help others do the same
- Recognize (publicly and privately) others’ contributions
- Listen to suggestions and feedback
- Share information openly and freely
- Are accessible and visible
- Have a track record of delivering results
2. Compelling Vision
Often referred to as a preferred future, a compelling vision is a short descriptive picture of what your organization is aiming for. Some books will tell you that you need to have a mission statement and a vision statement. Don’t believe it. In my opinion, whether you choose to call it mission, vision, or both, it is most important that you simply answer four questions:
- What are we doing?
- Why are we doing it?
- Where are we going?
- How do we plan to get there?
The answer to these questions should fit on one sheet of paper with a lot of white space! It often results in a clear and compelling direction with 3-5 priorities. We often call this the “playbook”. If you get this far, your likelihood of experiencing progress will grow exponentially.
3. Effective Execution
One of the unfortunate and unnecessary ways a leader harms his credibility and the momentum of his organization is by not ensuring that a decision or plan, for which he is responsible, is carried out in a timely manner. In their book, Execution, The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan note that execution is the major job of a leader and that it must be a key element of the organization’s culture. So, if execution is so important, why does it sometimes not happen? Below are the top reasons:
- There is no buy-in by some of the key power-brokers in the organization
- The culture and key leaders accept excuses and fail to hold people accountable
- Sometimes people coast and evade the hard work that needs to be done
- The required resources are not being provided
- No one is assigned ownership for implementation
- There is fear of failure and consequence
No matter how compelling the vision, it is irrelevant if action is not taken. Helen Keller is believed to have once sad, “A vision without action is only a dream!”
When you have the convergence of Credible Leaders, Compelling Vision, and Effective Execution, a powerful and positive reaction takes place that results in attracting great talent, financial donations, and investing.
Jay is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton. Jay brings experience in the areas of ministry assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include a B.S. in Bible, a M.Ed in Instructional Systems Design and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership.