Student's name: Paul Hazelden
College Number: 910006
Staff member to whom submitted: Rev. Dr. Peter K. Stevenson
I confirm that this work is the result of my own independent work/investigation and that it has not been submitted toward any other academic award at Spurgeon's College or any other institution.
A 3,000 to 4,000 word project.
Assignment 3b: personal development programme
Produce a personal development programme for the next three years.
This programme should:
The plan you produce should demonstrate that you have
1. Introduction 7
1.1. Context 7
1.2. This Assignment 7
1.3. Scope 8
2. Methodology 9
2.1. Other Assignments 9
2.2. Literature Study 10
2.3. Other books 11
2.4. Ongoing Reviews 12
2.5. Personal Investigation 12
2.6. Interpretation of the feedback 13
3. My Preferred Approach 14
3.1. Situational 14
3.2. Consensus 15
3.3. Expecting Responsible Behaviour 16
3.4. Context 16
3.5. Prayer Support 16
3.6. Grounded in the 'Real' World 16
3.7. Emotional Intelligence 17
3.8. Ways of thinking 17
3.9. Culture 18
4. My Personal Leadership Development Strategy 19
4.1. Priorities 20
4.2. Open to Change 20
5. My Personal Leadership Development Plan 20
5.1. Feedback 20
5.2. Study 21
5.3. Spirituality 21
5.4. Priorities 22
5.5. Letting Go 22
5.6. Staff Development 23
5.7. Change 24
5.8. Personal Promotion 24
5.9. Domestic 24
I have been working on this assignment in parallel with the case study. This has enabled me to use my time more efficiently, but one problematic consequence is that my reflection on both assignments has also taken place in parallel.
With some of the work I have produced over the past six months, I have sometimes not known which assignment to place it into, as with some minor change of emphasis it could easily fit into either. As far as possible, I have sought to resolve these difficulties without duplicating material in the two assignments, and without cross-referencing between them.
The first part of this assignment is to "explain and justify [my] preferred approach to Christian leadership."
I have several problems with the task and the way in which it is worded here.
I believe that I provided this information in the first assignment in this module. There would seem little point in reproducing large parts of that assignment here. Instead, I intend to briefly summarise the key points identified in that assignment, and then go on to describe the issues raised in the work I have done subsequent to that assignment. The fact that much more space will be given to the latter areas does not imply that the former is less important, only that it has already been covered in greater detail elsewhere.
What I describe here is not, as far as I can manage, my preferred approach to Christian leadership. I am by nature sinful and lazy: what I prefer varies from time to time, but is frequently at odds with what I believe to be right. I may prefer chocolate, but I eat far more fruit and vegetables because I believe that is the right choice.
Instead, what I describe is an attempt to be accurate and honest about my approach to leadership. It aims to be a description of what I actually do, given that what I am trying to do is to get it right (both Biblically and pragmatically) and implement the best approach to leadership for me in my present circumstances.
Similarly, I do not attempt to justify my approach to Christian leadership, in the sense of arguing that it is the only correct possibility. I will describe and explain my approach as one valid option amongst many.
As required, the programme I am to develop here is about my personal development, not just my leadership development. I assume that the main emphasis needs to be on my leadership development, as the leadership module is the context and reason for producing this assignment, but alongside this I also need to give weight to other factors to produce a holistic programme.
Thus, the scope of this assignment is not only the work I do with my staff and trustees, but it also includes my spiritual development, my work-life balance, protecting my physical health, and other aspects of my Christian ministry, both in the work context and outside it.
As the leader of a ministry, the scope of my work is everything: I have to take responsibility for everything done - and not done - by my staff and volunteers. While I can justifiably delegate individual decisions (e.g., must the cooks all wear hats in the kitchen?) and certain policies (e.g., who can be accepted onto the training programme?), many aspects of the work remain my sole responsibility. These include compliance with our legal obligations concerning data protection and employment, company and charity law; compliance with regulations and guidelines concerning food hygiene, use of volunteers, health and safety and vulnerable adults; recording and analysing what we do and the results (outputs and outcomes); publicity, marketing and fund-raising; building and maintaining relationships with supporting churches and partner organisations; staff and volunteer recruitment, training, development and discipline; financial procedures, reporting and accountability, especially regarding restricted funds.
I also have to develop the Christian aspects of the ministry, while not alienating the Evangelicals, Liberals, Catholics, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Brethren, New Churches and other smaller groups, with all their different theology, terminology, priorities and practices.
I cannot explicitly address all these areas in this assignment. They each require a different strategy, and any comprehensive plan for my leadership development must take each of them into account. What I can present here is inevitably and abstraction and a summary of the full strategy and plan I need in order to take the ministry and my career forward.
In this section, I will describe some of the work that has gone into producing the personal development programme.
The key aspects of Christian leadership I identified in the first assignment were broken down under four main headings: leadership, good leadership, Christian leadership and managing leadership.
With hindsight, 'development' should probably be added as a fifth aspect of the final heading: any leader must have a responsibility to grow and develop their own personal and leadership skills and abilities. This is related to, but goes beyond the need for ongoing training.
As noted above, this assignment has been undertaken in parallel with the case study. The results of that study need to feed into my personal development programme.
To a large extent, the case study has already contributed to this assignment through the work undertaken on the first assignment: a theology of Christian leadership. I have been reflecting for a number of years on the teaching, work and example of the two Christian leaders considered in the case study, and this has fed into my earlier work.
Two further points arising from the case study are the (previously noted) importance of 'act with integrity', and the question of personal promotion: 'blowing my own trumpet'. While this latter point is not something I feel comfortable with, I do recognise that it is helpful for people to have a leader they can look up to and respect; they need to be confident that the leader is capable of doing the job, at least partly on the basis of past successes and achievements.
As part of the preparation for this assignment, one obvious element was to re-read the course material and books. I have also read a number of other books and subscribed to several journals and electronic newsletters. These regularly contained relevant and helpful articles, the content of which I have sought to incorporate into my planning.
Possibly the greatest difficulty I experienced in this assignment was the temptation, after reading each book and article, to take the most relevant ideas and incorporate them into my personal development programme. There is not enough space in this assignment to identify all the useful material I have gathered in this way, let alone summarise it.
A surprising number of these books and articles have multiple relevancies to my work. For example, Gladwell provides important insight into the way in which environmental details affect behaviour, which helps me understand how to manage my staff and volunteers, but he also talks about the nature of addiction and smoking: "Over the past decade, the anti-smoking movement has railed against the tobacco companies for making smoking cool and has spent untold millions of dollars of public money trying to convince teenagers that smoking isn't cool. But that's not the point. Smoking was never cool. Smokers are cool." (Gladwell, 2000, 232-233) This, alongside the information about the results of people experimenting with drugs (p. 250) has immediate relevance to the way we seek to help the drug addicts that use our services.
In an attempt to avoid the obvious danger of blind spots, I need a check-list of areas of need to consider. The leadership module outline provides one such list, presented here in a slightly modified form:
Principles: the theory and theology of leadership, drawing on both Christian and secular sources.
Spirituality: maintaining and deepening a healthy spiritual life.
Vision: direction and purpose.
People: team building, motivating individuals, working across cultures.
Change: organisational change management, helping people cope with the prospect or reality of change, and determining that the change being implemented is the change that was intended.
Domestic: health and home life. A key element here is the fact that my physical health has not been good over the past few years, so the usual work-life balance turns into a more complicated work-home-health balance.
I have learned a great deal from books, most of which are not included in the Bibliography because I do not have the time and space to quote their significant passages. These books include Verduin: The Anatomy of a Hybrid; Hessian: My Calvary Road; Nee: The Normal Christian Life; and Wallis: The Call to Conversion and God's Politics. Each of these books, and many others, continues to influence my life and practice of leadership.
I have learned better techniques for handling passive and aggressive behaviour from (Amos, 1999, 61-76), and will include some of the material on active listening (Amos, 1999, 91-97) into a regular programme I teach.
For many years, I have found that the concept (or truth/principle) of incarnation to be central to understanding and dealing with almost any question or difficulty I am faced with: I understand that this is not unusual in Anabaptist circles. However, it came as a deep surprise to me that after meditating and teaching on the incarnation so repeatedly for a number of years, Krallmann (1992) describes the leadership strategy of Jesus as an outworking of incarnation in many ways that I had not begun to think about.
I found Burke (2004) helpful because the principles he identifies are clearly rooted in and relevant to the real world situations I face. He identifies eight key disciplines that any leader needs to master: spirituality, humility, imagination, mobilisation, specialisation, innovation, concentration and determination. Much of this is familiar territory, but there are some insightful quotes ("Some leaders have 20 years of experience, and others have one year of experience repeated 20 times!" - p. 25); and there are useful aspects, such as the seven tips for creating a culture of creativity (Burke, 2004, 175-182) that I intend to put into practice. He also makes the important point (p. 18-19) that every leader has three jobs: to remain healthy as a person, to maintain what is, and to pursue what could be. Getting the right balance between these three areas is one of the key challenges I face in the next few years.
I have an ongoing system of supervision, performance reviews and informal mentoring. Every six weeks there is a supervision session with two of my trustees; every six to eight weeks, a session with the leader of an established charity which provides an external perspective on my work activities and priorities; and every six months there is a session with a church leader which concentrates more on personal and spiritual development.
In addition, when undertaking supervision sessions with my staff, I always ask for feedback on my own performance, and ask if there are any changes I could make that would help them do their job better.
I requested feedback on my leadership style and ability from my staff, trustees, and the two people who provide external supervision. At the time of writing, the two key leaders in my home church have both just been diagnosed with cancer: they are unable to fulfil most of their church obligations, and I have no intention of adding any unnecessary burdens to them in the present circumstances.
One trustee suggested a framework to assist people in structuring their responses. A 'SNOB' analysis is the personal equivalent of the organisational 'SWOT' analysis: considering Strengths, Needs (presumably a politer way of saying 'weaknesses'), Opportunities and Barriers.
The results of this exercise were consistent with information gathered from other sources, although the categories people used differed considerably. For example, either good health was put down as a Need, or poor health was put down as a Barrier; personal networking was either put down as a Strength because I am good at it, or as an Opportunity because I can use it to develop the ministry. If I ever repeat this exercise, I will need to provide much more guidance about the meaning of each of the categories.
Another major difficulty with this assignment concerned how the feedback was to be interpreted: while I have my own weaknesses and blind spots, so too do those who contributed to the analysis.
For example, one member of staff consistently says that I would be more effective if I provided more directive leadership: I need to work out what ought to happen, and then make sure that it does happen. According to this advice, I need to spend less time listening to other peoples' views and concerning myself about their feelings.
This sounds like a clear message. However, on examination, what it actually means is that I should recognise, whenever the staff team does not agree on a subject, that this person's position is the correct one, and I should back him with my full authority. The articulated need for directive leadership turns out to be a request that I back one person's set of views against the views of the other members of staff. I should point out that this interpretation has been tested and confirmed on numerous occasions, both with the individual concerned and with others who know and work with them.
The request for more directive leadership also needs to be placed alongside the request from another member of staff for less emphasis on providing direction and more time spent in listening to peoples' feelings about possible changes.
Being criticised both for too much and for too little directional leadership does not mean that I am getting it right: it could be that I am sometimes making one mistake and sometimes the other. However, it does mean that my response to these points must be at a deeper level than simply implementing the requested change.
"Explain and justify your preferred approach to Christian leadership."
As described above, I shall attempt to describe and explain my approach to Christian leadership.
Much of the literature on leadership identifies the situational component as critical. For example, "no set of personality traits can assure good leadership because the most desirable traits depend on the nature of the group being led." (Reicher, Haslam and Platow, 2007, 24)
I have always approached leadership as a problem-solving exercise: identify the needs, prioritise them, and work out what needs to be done. What I do will depend on the circumstances: the needs, the constraints, the resources, and the possibilities that these generate.
Stated at this level, such an approach is no more than simple common sense: the challenge generally lies in identifying the needs and what can be done to address them.
In Christian leadership, the needs people identify are often driven as much by their experience and theology as by the facts of the situation. During my time in the URC, I had the opportunity to talk with numerous ministers about a few specific ailing churches, and most of them would identify a single clear need that urgently had to be addressed: this need could be met by, depending on the minister, an evangelistic programme, solid teaching on the basic Christian truths, corporate commitment to prayer, individual quiet times, shutting down church activities to promote family life, and so on.
By the grace of God, it is possible that each of these approaches might have been successful. However, the fact that the grace of God frequently over-rides our mistakes, and the fact that leadership can be successful even when it does not directly address the greatest current need, does not negate the reality of the circumstances or of the need for them to be appropriately addressed.
In the work undertaken by CCM, we frequently encounter similar conflicts of belief and experience: faced with a drug addict, the answer is (depending on the expert) either harm reduction or abstinence; soup runs are either a vital lifeline, or they are harming the people they feed by enabling them to remain on the streets; employment is either the chief means by which all the other needs of the homeless, addicted person will be met, or it is only possible once those other needs have been met; and so on.
Natural Church Development describes a way for churches to identify the needs and thus apply a situational approach that addresses the most important real needs (Schwarz, 1996, 52-57). I intend to try to apply the principles described in the book to see if they can work in our own different situation.
I seek to lead by consensus and persuasion, by empowering the staff and volunteers as much as possible, and limiting them as little as possible. This is a deliberate rejection of the old military style top-down 'command-and-control' model, which was one of the two modes of operation of my predecessor; the other mode being 'delegate-and-abdicate'. I believe that is is no accident that 'empowering leadership' is the first 'quality characteristic' identified in Natural Church Development (Schwarz, 1996, 22-23).
Feedback from my staff repeatedly suggests that they would prefer the old top-down model, but I persist in working through consensus for two main reasons: firstly, it fits my personality; and secondly, the management guides and text books tend to back me up in this approach. For example, Larry Wilson teaches that good leaders do three things: they provide permission for their people to try new things; they provide protection for their people and their ideas from the corporation ("we've never done it that way before"); and they provide processes to help them tackle and solve problems (Oakley and Krug, 1991, 12).
Both a strength and a weakness is that I have a strong bias towards expecting both staff and volunteers to behave in a responsible manner. This is sometimes appreciated, as it demonstrates trust, but it does sometimes result in overlooking the more emotional and irrational aspects of behaviour.
I dislike chasing work, or making a major issue out of a minor problem. I assume that if you haven't done it, you have a valid reason.
I naturally tend to see the bigger picture, and how the immediate issue fits into it. I don't always recognise how much others need to have this spelled out, and to be reminded of what they have already been told or agreed.
I already have various people who pray for me regularly, but one aspect of the advice and feedback I have received as part of this exercise identified the need for this to be developed and structured more clearly.
One suggestion (from someone who uses such an approach) was that this should operate at three levels: find one or two deeply committed people; find another ten who will get regular requests and updates; and another 100 who will get a more general update about 6 times a year (this fits in with the school terms, so it is easy to remember to do it). They are all asked to pray for me as a person and my family as well as the ministry.
I have always had a strong conviction that any ministry I undertook would have to follow Jesus' example in being grounded by my experience of and engagement with the 'real' world - that is, the world outside the church and Christian enclaves.
"By doing manual labour he was able to closely identify with the life-style of the working majority. To be able to help his fellow-men he first had to understand them." [Krallmann, 1992, 27]
The fact that I have spent many years working in both retail and industry enables me to relate in a deeper way to many of our supporters and volunteers. It seems not to be a disadvantage when dealing with the clergy: I am generally accepted by them as a fellow minister.
In a similar way, I need to ensure that I continue to do some face to face work with our clients. It would be very easy to spend all my time networking, fund-raising, and working at the level of policy and strategy. Part of my credibility as a leader lies in the fact that I know many of the individuals we are working to help, and have spent time with them myself. I am therefore in a position to judge the value of proposed activities to help specific individuals, and also retain a feel for how the ministry and the context in which we are working is changing.
I sometimes receive feedback suggesting that I am not always sufficiently sensitive to the emotional aspects of human interaction. This can be balanced against other feedback suggesting that I am rather more sensitive than most men.
Sometimes a perceived lack of emotional sensitivity is actually a caused by a different set of priorities: on one strategy development day led by an external facilitator, we were given an initial task, to be accomplished within half an hour. The chair of trustees and myself both saw a solution and, working together, accomplished the task in one minute. This was not deemed acceptable by the facilitator because we had not involved everyone, so we then spent the next half an hour failing to achieve the task through involving everybody in a more convoluted way. The exercise was enjoyable, but not applicable to our situation: the whole team is involved in the work we do; there is no need to do anything to make people feel involved. We struggle with too few people, time and resources, so if I can solve a problem quickly and easily, and only involve a few people, then I will do that so that we can do more to meet some of the vast amount of unaddressed needs our clients have.
However, if some people feel there is sometimes insufficient emotional sensitivity, then I need to give the issue due consideration. After all, "Emotions are powerful, always present and hard to handle" (Fisher and Shapiro, 2005, 3) and it is important in my present environment to maintain a positive relationship with all the people I work alongside.
Much of the work we do can feel like a waste of time, so it is vital that staff and volunteers feel that their work is both worthwhile and valued - and as 'the boss', it matters to them that I communicate how much I appreciate and value what they do.
One characteristic of the work undertaken by Crisis Centre Ministries is that it is holistic: we are interested in the physical (accommodation, health, nutrition, finance) as well as the less tangible aspects of life: emotional, psychological, social and spiritual. Balancing and integrating these different areas is no small challenge, and I am always looking for tools that might be able to help us in this area.
Some years ago, I came across the management theories of Goldratt, and it seemed clear that they had application far beyond the manufacturing plant which provided the setting for those theories to be described.
The third edition of his introductory work includes an appendix which confirms the applicability of the theories to other situations, including a hospital and a middle school teacher (Goldratt and Cox, 2004, 374-379 and 379-384). The teacher describes some remarkable results in teaching the theory to ordinary children and to at-risk students. Similar results are reported on the associated web site as a result of teaching the theories to 5 year old children at a school in Nottingham: "The (theories) are also used when covering serious issues as drug education, addressing such scenarios as what to do if you find drugs in the park." (Trapnell, 2007).
These reports seem to suggest that the application of these theories could have a significant impact on the lives of our clients. It is not an area that I am aware of anyone else exploring, and more work needs to be done to identify how they might be applied.
I am interested in the way that culture shapes and limits our expectations and behaviour. Time and time again, people have told me that 'this' is the only way to do something, while it is perfectly obvious that other people in other places do it differently.
Most of the literature I have read about leadership, management and business comes from the UK or USA. I have some awareness through personal contact of the different way things are done in different parts of Europe, especially around the Mediterranean, but have no literature to offer as a support for this.
I also have several points of contact with Japanese business and culture, arising from two distinct areas of activity: one is the game of Go, and the other is the practice of Quality Assurance - sometimes known as 'Total Quality Management' - which is implemented in standards such as ISO9000. There is not enough space to explore these areas and their relevance to my work.
The different culture in Japan brings different expectations and assumptions to many areas of life. The differences between Go and Chess can be seen to exemplify some of them.
"Chess is a game of warring and wasting, while Go is a game of market sharing and harmonious relations. In Chess, the object is to annihilate the enemy and 'capture' the king. In Go, the two players compete for a share of the board. The player who gets the larger share wins. Both players get something and their pieces co-exist peacefully on the playing field." (Yasuyuki, 1995, 2)
We can apply this to problem solving. We often adopt an attitude of 'attacking' the problem, or of seeking to 'fix' what is wrong. When talking with me about CCM's approach to ministry, Pastors often volunteer the opinion that many people in Christian ministry tend to be 'fixers' by nature.
A different culture may, in classic business-speak, not talk about a problem but about an opportunity: the situation may not be perfect, but it is not totally wrong either, so the question to ask is how something that is good can be improved. The culture creates a mindset which determines the possibilities that can be considered.
I will offer one further example. The framework within which an annual evaluation is conducted may make a significant difference to the outcome. In Japan, a typical check list used for an annual evaluation may look like:
Foreign language skill
Contribution to the group
(Yasuyuki, 1995, 187). This contrasts sharply with the detailed and functional forms and check lists typically used here and in the USA.
"Outline a strategy for your personal leadership development."
My personal leadership development strategy must involve further strengthening the strong areas as well as addressing the weak areas. Of course, strength and weakness can be two sides of the same coin.
A strategy will enable me to determine clear priorities. I need to prioritise not the areas of my greatest weakness, but the areas where my weakness has the greatest impact on the organisation.
A clear set of priorities will not only enable me to decide what to do but, more importantly, it will enable me to decide what not to do. Letting go of the old is always more difficult than taking up something new.
The plan must be flexible, so that needs I have not yet identified can be addressed once they are recognised.
"Develop and justify a plan showing how you might address those areas of leadership where you are perceived to be weaker."
I need to briefly comment on the wording of the assignment here.
Firstly, 'develop' seems to imply that I should start with a blank sheet of paper. In reality, the issues which any plan will address are, to a large extent, issues that I have been living with and addressing for many years. A plan is already in place and being lived out: the decision to undertake the MTh in Applied Theology is but one example. The value of this assignment is that it enables me to articulate the plan more clearly, and to develop it in the light of new insights and discoveries.
Secondly, I do not have the space to explicitly justify all the points noted below. It should be clear from the context what each of the points is derived from, which is all the justification I can offer.
Thirdly, a realistic plan must address more than the points where I am perceived to be weaker: perceptions can be wrong, and areas of strength may need to be used differently.
I will continue to receive and make use of feedback from my trustees and staff: as far as it goes, this system appears to be working well, and no significant changes are needed. Issues raised by the staff are discussed by the trustees, and this will continue.
The external supervision sessions will also continue. I will give copies of this assignment to the people who provide the supervision, and this will enable them to suggest improvements to the plan and ways to implement it. I anticipate the issue of emotional intelligence to be addressed in this way, at least as a first step.
I will use the remaining parts of the MTh - the case study and thesis - to continue exploring questions that are relevant to my leadership development.
I will continue to study the theory and theology of leadership, drawing on both Christian and secular sources. I will keep the books and articles together and review them on a regular basis.
One recently acquired resource (Anderson, 1999) contains 35 two page summaries of significant works on business and leadership, including 14 classics such as 'A Passion for Excellence' (Peters and Austin), 'Leadership Secrets of Atilla the Hun' (Roberts) and 'Thriving on Chaos' (Peters). It also contains a very useful article on business culture, and 17 summaries of classics on the subject of personal effectiveness such as 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' (Covey). I intend to review each of these in turn, and determine whether to get hold of the original work.
When I have finished this list, I shall attempt to look at the remaining books on the module's reading list.
I must maintain and deepen a healthy spiritual life. Feedback to date suggests that this is currently an area of strength, but I cannot afford to become complacent. Spirituality and activity are both vital, but it is very easy for the activity to grow at the expense of the spirituality. My trustees are also aware of this danger, and together we continue to work to ensure that that a healthy balance is maintained between these two poles of the Christian life.
I plan to continue with the usual spiritual disciplines: regular prayer and Bible study, membership of a local congregation and home group, occasional fasting and 'retreats' - some of which will be led, and some providing more space for private reflection and examination. Some of this will be undertaken alongside my staff and trustees, some as part of my congregation, some with my family and some on my own.
Determining and monitoring priorities has always been a significant challenge. One weakness is that I tend to take on too much, so I need an effective system to ensure that the right opportunities are taken up - both in my personal and professional lives.
The current system is that I check with my wife or my trustees before taking on any new significant responsibility. It seems I have been able, thus far, to convince them too easily of the value of new pieces of work.
On the work front, one problem to do with priorities is that they relate to my use of time, while the main part of my reporting to the board is to do with issues, actions and achievements. They know how much time I spend working each day, week and month; the relative importance of each activity; whether I am in the office or out of it; and how much of each of these is or is not done in 'core' time - similar to office hours.
I have discussed and agreed in principle a new mechanism for tracking my time (and that of my staff) against the major significant activities we are supposed to be undertaking. This system should be in place before the end of 2007, and will enable us to determine whether my time is being spent in the way that we have planned and agreed, and thus to make ongoing corrections to my responsibilities and priorities.
In order to make a new system work effectively, I also need a written plan to judge new opportunities against, and a means of evaluating the effectiveness of that plan in determining my activities.
I had hoped that this assignment would form the written plan, but it is now clear that I need to produce a more formal and regularly updated plan based on this assignment. To be realistic, this will have to be one of the first things I do after completing the final assignment in this module.
Setting priorities must take place within the context of a clear vision, which determines the direction of the ministry. I have been reasonably successful so far in articulating and slowly developing our vision, and expect to continue doing this in much the same way for the next few years.
The other side of the question of priorities is that I need to free up my time. I am already doing too much, and one inevitable consequence of this assignment is that I identify more things to do. There must therefore be a corresponding letting go of some of the things I currently do.
One significant area that will require less work in the medium term is the MTh: once the thesis is complete, I have no immediate intention of starting more academic work.
Another important point is that a significant part of my current work is undertaken as a form of investment: by doing this work now, I am reducing the amount of work that will be required in future years.
Similarly, by training the current staff, I can expect them to take progressively more responsibility in selected areas. One example would be the area of food hygiene, where the new Coffee Shop Manager should be able to take over the functional responsibility in maybe six months' time. He has already begun to take over some of the publicity, networking and fund-raising tasks that used to be my sole responsibility. Identifying areas such as this is an ongoing process that must be undertaken in consultation with the individuals concerned.
One of my ongoing responsibilities is the recruitment and training of trustees. I have started the process of identifying areas that can be delegated to trustees, or to other responsible volunteers, to reduce the amount of reading and the number of meetings I need to attend. The specific areas will obviously depend on the availability, skills and interests of the people concerned, but I hope to be able to spend less time on the areas of data protection and of employment, company and charity law. This depends on me finding and recruiting suitable people, but my current trustees are in agreement and consider this to be feasible.
In the first assignment, I said:
"One of my main reasons for choosing to examine Christian leadership was the hope that, as I understand it better myself, I will be able to communicate the principles to my staff more effectively."
So my plan must include communicating my understanding of Christian leadership to my staff team, and being open to them to challenge, correct and deepen my understanding of what it means in our specific context. This must be part of an ongoing programme of team building and staff development, the details of which need to be agreed in consultation with the trustees and staff members. Much of this is already in place: for example, I plan an annual team-building event, usually a trip or time spent away together, for the staff each year.
It is my current expectation that this will go some way to addressing the mismatch that exists for some members of staff between their high levels of motivation and their low levels of performance in certain areas, such as record keeping and diary management. It should also provide a vehicle though which I can continue to express appreciation for the amazing work my members of staff continually do.
As well as individual development, I need to manage change at the organisational level, as described above.
The key issue here is the need to grow the ministry. Our current approach to helping homeless people works well, but at present we have only one person working in each area, when we need a minimum of two people so that holidays and sickness can be covered; this will also reduce the inevitable disruption when people move on.
Related to the above is a need to find larger premises: the coffee shop outgrew the space available several years ago, and our offices cannot accommodate the extra staff we need.
There are many other, more specific, organisational changes we need to make. They are all described in three strategy documents I have created and maintain on behalf of the trustees. These articulate a vision for the ministry, goals for each area of the work, and specific targets that identify what needs to be changed, how and when. Implementing these plans and maintaining these documents is a significant part of my work.
As noted above, I am reluctant to mention past achievements and successes, and this reluctance may sometimes hinder the ministry. I will discuss this issue with each of my mentors, and determine if there is some change of strategy I need to adopt.
My personal health and home life cannot be planned in the same way as ministry developments such as staff recruitment and new premises, but I must ensure that sufficient space and attention is given to them in any overall plan.
A key factor here is the inter-related set of problems I have been experiencing with my physical health over the past few years, so the usual work-life balance turns into a more complicated work-home-health balance.
On top of the usual three saunas a week I need to keep my skin under control, I must start to schedule regular weight-bearing exercise to limit the progress of osteoporosis. It is also likely that I will need in the near future to schedule three sessions of light treatment a week, but this is unlikely to last for more than three months. All of this is essentially a 'given' and, until I receive Divine healing or the doctors come up with a cure or some more effective treatment, requires no decision making beyond simple scheduling.
Both sets of parents are both living, but increasingly elderly, frail and subject to medical emergencies: my father had a heart operation in the Spring, my mother had cancer surgery over the Summer and my wife's father is failing to give reliable reports about the development of a serious condition. All of which means we need to build into the schedule a degree of flexibility to enable us to respond as appropriate to emergencies concerning our parents, as well as the more familiar emergencies concerning our three children.
Other aspects of family life require a little adjustment: the weekly schedule essentially works, but I need to reinstate the monthly scheduled evening out with my wife - this worked well for a sometime, but we have allowed it to lapse over the past few years. I also need to be more disciplined in telling my wife about conversations with our children so that she has a better understanding of the extent of my involvement with them.
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