Based on life experience analysis
One of the co-founders of SAP (System Analysis Program Development), one of the most successful Software Companies in Germany once said that “if we stop innovating we will lose”. Innovation is simply introducing new products in the market or improving on the already existing products so as to increase profitability. This is done through a number of ways such as increasing efficiency hence reducing production and maintenance costs, improving the quality of the product to attract more customers and make more sales, and investing in marketing to popularize the product hence competing with other similar products or alternative products, etc.
It is my opinion also that any organization, including religious and philanthropic, government, institution, or business that does not innovate is either dying or it has already died. There are some existential factors that give every organization a business orientation. These are demand, supply, marketing, resources, and customers. Every organization targets a certain category or people that consume their products. Even religious organizations such as Churches, Congregations, and charity institutions, aim at satisfying their customers who are either the faithful or the poor. As times change, new demands for both goods and services arise and it is only those suppliers that meet the standards of demand that survive in the market.
Now, focusing more on religious institutions under the umbrella of the Church, the changing times have caused a significant paradigm shift that demands innovation in order for these institutions to remain relevant as they play their role in the Church. Before the faithful went to seek services in the Church and its institution and most of them accepted and conformed to whatever they received in faith. Today, that is no longer the case, people chose what they want and in some cases, the ministers even need to sell market their services to attract the target groups. This may sound like a “commercialization of faith” or “trivialization of the supernatural” but if you care to reflect you will realize that the faithful too like everyone else is just being son and daughters of their time.
One of the most important innovations that every organization that wishes to remain sustainable tomorrow should effect is what is known as “organizational structure and culture”. This includes leadership, recruitment, and updating of both personnel and structures. A leader of an organization or an institution is like a driver, a pilot, or a captain of a ship. There may be other crew members but the overall task of reaching the destination safely depends on the one who navigates the system. A pilot may have the best co-pilot and crew members in the market but can easily crush the aircraft.
This is because the final decisions that either make or break the entire structure of an organization rest on the capacity of the head leader to navigate different aspects. An overall leader needs to be the following and more.
- A good manager – is responsible for controlling and administering an organization.
- Human Resource is responsible for ensuring that the member performs their duties efficiently. Need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the members and know how to deploy them to various tasks.
- CEO – directs the agendas of an organization, manages organization structures, and drives profitability.
- Diplomat – is the face of an organization in relation to the state and other organizations.
- Legal person – he or she is the one charged with legal matters and the jurisdiction of the organization.
- The last result – he is she is the one who makes the last decision in case of contention on which way to go.
- Answerable – he is the one to answer queries about matters related to the organization at the highest level. And many others.
This demands that a leader should possess multiple capabilities and possess multidisciplinary skills in order to take the organization in the right direction.
A leader must possess the ability to create room for innovation by the members without compromising the core values of an organization. A non-innovative leader renders the members dormant and even risks losing some of them to other organizations that are open to innovation.
When a leader is deploying every member to a particular task, he or she must be satisfying the following key issues.
- What is the overall impact that the organization wants to create in the world or for humanity?
- What are the sustainable objectives that the organization needs to achieve?
- What is the output required in order to meet the objectives desired?
- What is the input required to produce the desired output?
- What is the financial resource needed for every input?
- What are the Psycho-social and cultural specifics that the member required for a particular environment?
- Does the member being deployed possess the skills needed to perform duties pertaining to his or her office?
- Where two or three members are required to work together, does each of them understand and accept the ABC of their roles?
- Are there in place mitigation procedures in case of misunderstanding?
Going back even before deployment, religious organizations such as Congregations and institutes of consecrated life need to recruit, train and assess their members. If any of these critical processes are not well done, there will be a problem when the time for deployment arrives. Just as they say in Kiswahili “Mtoto umleavyo, ndivyo akuavyao” (the way you bring up the child, the way he or she grows), the performance of an institution depends on the recruitment and the training of its members.
Most human activities are scientific in nature, meaning that they can be systematic and organized in measurable explanations. If our religious institutions will remain relevant in a scientific world, they too have no alternative but to appreciate and employ science in the way they run their affairs.
When electing leaders in religious institutions, apart from the invocation of the Holy Spirit to inspire the electorate, the members need to be abreast with the needs of the institute, the directions they need to take, and the profile of the desired candidate.
If this is done meticulously, the chances of succeeding are elevated. If not the reverse is definitely true. One cannot act in the same way and expect different results. For different results, different strategies are required.
This is the way it is. It is the way the world works today.