Friday, August 6, 2010

Global Leadership Summit--Terri Kelly from W.L. Gore

Here at Willow Creek's Global Leadership Summit we're getting ready to listen to Terri Kelly from W.L. Gore--a company that's never experienced a loss in 50 years. She has 4 daughters from ages 5-13 and that qualifies her for leadership in my book. Excited to see how this will apply to leadership with Operation Christmas Child.

The Gores cared deeply about the kind of organization they were going to create in their business. They wanted a collaborative environment and worked to foster that.

The power of small teams helps employees stay connected even in a large corporation.

Peer-based organization. Everyone's job is to make everyone else successful.

On-demand hierarchy--power shifts depending on who has the knowledge to make a particular decision.

They are a lattice organization (connected to one another) rather than a ladder organization. Everyone needs to connect within the network.
"We don't tell people what to do and we don't tell them what projects to work on." Leaders influence other employees and share the ownership.

When you join Gore you buy into their core values (respect of the individual; power of small teams; we're all in the same boat; taking a long-term view of success and not based on finances alone)

Every associate (their term for employee) needs to influence others to get on board with their ideas which are subject to peer-review so the teams can choose which projects are best to work on. Associates are rewarded by peer review. Those who are making the greatest contribution get paid accordingly. (I'm wondering how this relates to volunteers in ministry.)

To have the leader responsible for mentoring all in the organization is very limiting. Instead, each of their associates has their own 'sponsor' or mentor to help them be successful. This is separate from the supervisory role.

They try to keep each of their plants small enough to have only 200-250 associates in each, even though they have a total of 9,000 workers in all. This leads to greater ownership. (I wonder how this applies to size of churches?)

To protect their culture at Gore they're very careful in hiring to make sure they hire persons who are 'on board' with their core values.

The water line principle means they don't have a lot of manuals to guide practices but they caution associates not to "drill holes below the water line" which means they're not to take risks that can harm the entire organization.

Leadership is defined by followership. You're only a leader if someone wants to follow you. Leaders take a lot of time explaining the reasoning for their decisions.

Trying to stay true to their values while changing to stay relevant as culture changes.

They believe that it's better for more associates to consider themselves as leaders and by survey 50% of their employees do think they are leaders.

---In the church, everyone is responsible for making a contribution. The team equips the individual as the individual contributes to the team. This is the ideal model for the church. This is the kind of church Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against.

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