This was passed on to me from a fellow minister. A good word for all of us.
A recent headline in the New York Times read "Home Depot Ousts Highly Paid
Chief." While you may not be highly paid as a minister, all of us can learn
a valuable lesson from this leader's failure.
When time ran out for Home Depot's chairman and chief executive, Robert
Nardelli, the cause of his dismissal was reportedly linked to his inordinate
compensation-but the underlying cause is one where we, as church leaders,
may also be vulnerable.
The problem was not Nardelli's work ethic. He'd commonly rise at 4 a.m. and
work 14-hour days, plus many weekends, putting in time at the company's
headquarters and many stores. The problem was not Nardelli's productivity in
terms of company growth. During his tenure, Home Depot doubled sales and
increased its earnings per share.
But less than a year ago, in a meeting for stockholders, Nardelli limited
the length of questions and abruptly ended the meeting after 30 minutes.
Afterward the angry outcry came not only from the handful of shareholders
who attended the meeting, but also from all those who'd been discouraged
from attending the meeting in the first place.
"It was an erosion of relationships over several months. He lost the
confidence of the board," said a person close to the board.
The leader lesson for those of us in church life is this-while we have to
keep the ship afloat and mind the hours of sermon prep, we cannot afford to
lose focus on the influencers around us. When we let relationships fray
because of avoidance or lack of attention, the result will come back to bite
Shrewd and savvy leaders know that they must consistently carve out time to
connect with organizational influencers in order to strengthen the bond of
relations and trust. We can't rely on hard work or even productivity to
become the ultimate measurements of our effectiveness. These are
insufficient. As pastors, we can't assume people should know our hearts. We
need to invest in heart-connecting opportunities.
So whom do you need to call today? What board member is overdue for coffee
or lunch? What power broker in the church deserves to be invited over for
dinner-for your sake, and ultimately the church's sake, even though he or
she may never ask for it?
Alan Nelson is the executive editor of Rev! Magazine (www.rev.org
<https://www.rev.org/> ), the author of a dozen books, and has been a pastor
for 20 years. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.