The Work Project – Effective Transformation of the Workplace

About two years ago I floated the idea of a seminar/group coaching session focused on transforming the workplace. It’s where many of us spend most of our time and where we feel most in need of support, affirmation and assistance.\r\n\r\nLast year the idea was developed in more detail when I was thinking about a mission strategy for Bradley Stoke, an area on the Bristol North Fringe. It was one of five big ideas to help the church become more outward looking and more effective in improving the day to day lives of ordinary working people. The broader context can be seen in the book Mapping Mission Opportunities.\r\n\r\nThis year it’s moved on again. Working with Rob Hook of the Business CoPilot, we have zeroed in on some practical details. We have sent out a survey to 50 people we know in the workplace to ask what are the the real issues they face. Being practically minded we are also asking what is the ideal format for coaching/teaching/talking about our individual performance in the workplace so that each of in turn may transform the workplace for every person around us.\r\n\r\nThe summary sent out with our survey is here The Work Project – effective transformation of the workplace or click on the image below. It can also be found at our website\r\n\r\nIf you are in work and we haven’t asked for your opinion, and you would like to complete our questionnaire, please email me at or Rob at\r\n\r\n

Growing in Leadership

One of my leadership highlights this year was listening in to a telephone Q&A session between Dr Henry Cloud (also see Cloud-Townsend Resources) and Dan Rockwell of Leadership Freak Blog The call was planned a few days ahead of time and a several hundred people mainly from across the US signed on a few minutes before the session started one Wednesday afternoon ready to gain some wisdom.\r\n\r\nAfter some early introductions Henry Cloud was asked this:\r\n\r\n“If you were able to give the young Henry Cloud some practical advice on leading effectively what would it be?”\r\n\r\nThe answer was this:\r\n\r\n”There’s no magic formula that guarantees you will lead effectively, but there is a magic formula to help you get there. Work on filling up these four columns:\r\n\r\n1 get some significant relationships to model and correct and inspire and mentor. Seek out people to fill this first column\r\n\r\n2 you’ve got to know what you’re doing. In terms of whatever your endeavour is, you’ve got to do your homework – reading, workshops, training etc. It’s inconceivable that a surgeon would never read a book.\r\n\r\n3 get experiences. Again, you don’t want to be operated on by a surgeon who’s never done it. So volunteer, get on teams, get on projects, scare yourself, hold on by the bootstraps. You’re not going to figure it out unless you get on and do it, and no-one else will get you there apart from … you.\r\n\r\n4 figure out a structure for your development. Make time to develop. Make a structure. It doesn’t just happen. You don’t throw a maths book at a kid and hope they learn maths. In other words, nothing happens without planning”\r\n\r\nFood for thought …\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWritten in the top floor cafe of John Lewis, The Mall, Cribbs Causeway

Cliff Edge Volunteers

One encouraging fact to come out of the Olympics was this:  people like to volunteer.\r\n\r\n240,000 people applied to be Olympic volunteers around London, of which only 70,000 (ONLY 70,000!) were chosen.\r\n\r\nThe National Trust runs with the help of over 60,000 volunteers.\r\n\r\nAnd yet, most churches are struggling to get hold of volunteers.\r\n\r\nBut then, most churches don’t have anything as exciting as the Olympics to offer (although we have plenty of old buildings we may end up giving to the National Trust). We may bandy about statements about the worthiness of the church, but the reality is that most churches are dull and introverted organisations. We are creating proportionally more  bureaucracy to serve fewer people in dwindling congregations. The opportunity to serve as a volunteer in church now seems to be propping up creaking structures that should by all other measures be disbanded.\r\n\r\nAnd that is of little or no interest to most people under forty, let alone those under twenty.\r\n\r\nLeaving aside the lack of opportunities for meaningful engagement in church, selecting the right person for the right job in church is not as easy as choosing thousands of volunteers to stand on street corners and point people around London. New volunteers are all very well in principle, but not every volunteer is appropriate for key roles in the church. And those  volunteers who are appropriate are rarely available, being already overcommitted on existing committees.\r\n\r\nNo, what we need is a new focus. And perhaps it should be based on Jesus’ own example. We rarely see Jesus cajoling his disciples to volunteer (feeding 5,000 perhaps). Instead we find him commissioning them way before they were ready to leave the comfort and close proximity to the main group and head off by twos into unknown territory to discover the joys of Cliff Edge service.\r\n\r\nFollowing this pattern, we need to create some new Cliff Edges to walk along outside the church.\r\n\r\nIn Sports Clubs.\r\n\r\nIn Media.\r\n\r\nWith the Poor.\r\n\r\nWith the Rich.\r\n\r\nIn the Arts.\r\n\r\nIn Government.\r\n\r\nWith Business.\r\n\r\nWith Money.\r\n\r\nIn Britain.\r\n\r\nIn the world.\r\n\r\nWith Secularists.\r\n\r\nWith faithful others.\r\n\r\nYou name it. No really … you name it!\r\n\r\nLet’s make the business of volunteering for the church deeply meaningful and inherently stretching.\r\n\r\nAnd how?\r\n\r\nLet’s find out what our volunteers can do, what interests them, what gifts God has endowed them with, and what Cliff Edge only they can walk along.\r\n\r\nThen let’s support them – rather than ask them to support us.

Mentoring from the Best in the World

A recent discussion on where to get advice on a particular church ministry raised this question:\n\n“Should we go to the people recognised as ‘best in the world’ for advice?”\n\nThe general consensus was yes, why not, there’s nothing to loose. Go to the top. Polish the gift. (Stroke the ego?)\n\nHowever, by not letting those around us be involved in our ministry we are failing in our duty to create a context of accountability within which we minister and we fail to build into others the experience and ability to offer a balanced critique of ministry.\n\nPerhaps we should consider forsaking personal mentoring from the best in the world, and instead accept slower personal progress but look to grow the best possible mentoring network around us.\n\nWhich route would result in more lasting and effective influence in the parish?