Should the Church Be Asking the Same 6 Questions as J.Crew? Here are 10 Easy Ways to Know You’re Not a Leader

jump_large_something_to_chew_onOlan Hendrix once said, “Strategic thinking is like showering, you have to keep doing it.” Many churches are intentional about setting short and long-term goals. Unfortunately, because there is no ongoing process they quickly get stuck and revert back to previous ways of thinking once goals are accomplished.

Strategic Operating Plans guide teams to clarify their mission, vision and core strategies – and then create the right structure and accountability to realize it through prioritized action initiatives. The process is a continual circle because strategic thinking must always be ongoing. The May edition of Fast Company recently featured an article by Danielle Sacks that really demonstrates the importance of strategic planning.


  1. Perspective: Where are we now? – In 2003, the company found themselves in financial distress, they were no longer a force in the fashion industry. Their turnaround began when they admitted that they were stuck. They had to come to an understanding of how they got to where they were.
  2. Planning: Where are we headed? – The company decided that they had to return to designing distinctive clothing. They wanted to develop a coherent brand that would drive business forward.
  3. Action: What’s important now?J. Crew quickly determined that actions steps needed to be taken to improve communication between stylist and merchandisers. They also realized that every piece of the creative organization – from retail to catalog to web – had to be unified. (Sounds really similar to eliminating ministry silos).
  4. Structure: What form best facilitates our plan? – The company hired Millard Drexler in 2003 and later made Jenna Lyons president. The two key leaders worked together to form a structure that supported their core plan.
  5. Management: How are we doing? – Annual revenue has tripled since 2003 and specific goals have been accomplished. The company returned to designing distinctive clothing and they are clearly unstuck.
  6. Renewal: What must change? – The company now constantly adjusts their product lines, tries new ideas, assesses and quickly terminates anything that doesn’t work. Their strategic planning has created a company of constant experimentation, iteration and adaption.

How are you doing when it comes to strategic planning? Our StratOp process will provide you with a three-day on-site visit that will help you lead and manage your church as a system comprised of multiple programs, ministries and functions.

I was recalling one of the earliest articles I wrote for my website, in that post, I described some of the symptoms of leaders who aren’t really leaders.  The leadership principles reflected in this list still apply. You want to know if you’re really a leader Consider these principles: 10 Easy Ways to Know You’re Not a Leader
  1. You’re waiting on a bigger staff and more money to accomplish your vision.
  2. You think you need to be in charge to have influence.
  3. You’re content.
  4. You tend to foster division instead of generating a helpful dialogue.
  5. You think you need to say something to be heard.
  6. You find it easier to blame others for your circumstances than to take responsibility for solutions.
  7. It’s been some time since you said, “I messed up.”
  8. You’re driven by the task instead of the relationships and the vision.
  9. Your dreams are so small, people think they can be achieved.
  10. No one is following you.

There are leaders, and then there are real leaders. Some leaders think of themselves as leaders because they have a title. Others don’t need a title. They understand that leadership is really about influence anchored in integrity and humility.

You don’t need to wait for someone to give you a position and a private office to lead. If you want to be a leader in the future, start acting like a leader today.

How will you invest your influence?


Photo(s)/Resource(s): Tony Morgan


One thought on “Should the Church Be Asking the Same 6 Questions as J.Crew? Here are 10 Easy Ways to Know You’re Not a Leader

  1. Absolutely agree. I think that most folks are somehow afraid of applying principles that have their foundation in business; they somehow believe that the church will lose compassion somehow. However, any effective leader knows that people want to know the plan and what their part is in it. It’s simple….communication and information is always a great beginning. Compassion makes it perfect!

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