08 Sep #085 – Integriosity – Crossing from Re-Imagine to Re-Align
ESSENCE: After building the essential bridge of a RENEWED understanding of God’s purpose for work and organizations that allows us to move from business as usual to business a better way and then exploring how to use that RENEWED understanding to begin to RE-IMAGINE an organization in a way that leads to faithfully “doing right” through business a better way, it is time to cross over the bridge to the third step in the path of Integriosity®–RE-ALIGN. RE-ALIGN is when a leader and an organization begin executing their Re-Imagined Vision, Re-Imagined Values and Re-Imagined Culture–actually implementing change and alignment rather than just learning and dreaming. The challenge of the RE-ALIGN stage is realizing and accepting that RE-ALIGNING a culture is a SLOW process. We believe there are five key ingredients needed for successful execution: a flexible approach, intentional leaders, trust, prayer and patience.
After 34 posts (#038-#071) building the essential bridge of a RENEWED understanding of God’s purpose for work and organizations that allows us to move from business as usual to business a better way and the last 13 posts (#072-#084) exploring how to use that RENEWED understanding to begin to RE-IMAGINE an organization in a way that leads to faithfully “doing right” through business a better way, it is time to cross over the bridge to the third step in the path of Integriosity®–RE-ALIGN.
Refresher on RE-IMAGINING
In post #072 (Crossing from RENEW to RE-IMAGINE), we presented a quick refresher on all the RENEW posts. As we move from RE-IMAGINE to RE-ALIGN, here is a reminder of the second step of Integriosity–RE-IMAGINE. There are four areas in which to begin “Re-Imagining”:
- Alignment (remember Integriosity)
- Purpose (remember Flourishing/Shalom)
- Foundation (remember Biblical Values)
- Implementation (remember Culture)
Below is a refresher on the last 13 posts.
- The Bridge from RENEW (#072)
- Alignment (#073)
- Values (#077)
Re-Align: Five Ingredients for Execution
While there are many ways for a leader and an organization to think about and organize executing the goals that surfaced in the RE-IMAGINE step of Integriosity, we believe there are five key ingredients for executing a Re-Imagined Vision, Re-Imagined Values and a Re-Imagined Culture.
- Flexible Approach
- Intentional Leaders
- Committed to a “WHO” Identity
- Committed to a Bigger WHY
- Committed to Cultivating Culture
- A Commitment to Authenticity
A large share of the people who figure out what’s coming as they pursue holiness choose to retreat to previously mastered stops on the trail, preferring the comfort and security of mediocrity to the challenges of godliness. (George Barna)
Integriosity Stages: The Excitement and the Challenges
Each stage in the path to Integriosity carries its own excitement and its own challenges. We do not pretend it is an easy path, and there will be leaders who look down it and rationalize that to “keep on keepin’ on” is good enough. Others will start down the path and be unwilling to face their “misses”, turning back somewhere in RENEW. Those who make it to RE-IMAGINE may not think there is much to change. Finally, some will come to RE-ALIGN and demand a “quick fix” or want to delegate leadership because they don’t see it as worth their time (after all, they need to “run the organization”). A quote from George Barna comes to mind:
A large share of the people who figure out what’s coming as they pursue holiness choose to retreat to previously mastered stops on the trail, preferring the comfort and security of mediocrity to the challenges of godliness.
- RENEW: The Renew Stage of Integriosity is exciting because it reveals the sacred nature of work and business. It may be the first time a leader comes to understand the intrinsic Kingdom value of their work and the organization they lead. Moving across the three “gaps” (the Sunday/Monday gap, the Sacred/Secular gap, and the Knowing/Doing gap) of faith/work integration equips a leader to see their role, their organization and all its people in a new light. But there are several potential challenges for a leader going through the Renew stage:
- Being willing to lay down old beliefs and doctrines (as comfortable as they may be), including some that may still be taught in their church.
- Being willing honestly to admit “misses”—Placebos ingested and Side Roads travelled.
- Being willing to embrace the increased responsibility of being a “steward” of God’s organization.
- RE-IMAGINE: The Re-Imagine stage is exciting because a leader has the tools and the permission to imagine WHAT COULD BE! The principle challenge of the Re-Imagine stage is doing an honest appraisal of WHAT IS:
- Recognizing (and admitting) when a vision statement really doesn’t lay out a vision.
- Recognizing (and admitting) when values do not align with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities.
- Recognizing (and admitting) where the culture does not align with the vision or values.
- Recognizing (and admitting) where the “real” culture is far from the intended culture.
- RE-ALIGN: The excitement of the Re-Align stage comes in actually beginning to implement change rather than just learning and dreaming–it is fully crossing the Knowing/Doing gap. The challenge of the Re-Align stage is realizing and accepting that Re-Alignment is a SLOW process. A Re-Imagined Vision and Re-Imagined Values can be changed on a website in a matter of minutes; however buy-in at all levels of an organization can take months (or years) and reinforcement is a never-ending process. A Re-Imagined Culture takes time, and the amount of time depends on how ingrained and toxic the existing culture happens to be. We turn (once again) to the wisdom of Seth Godin for what it takes to create an organization where people matter (and believe they matter):
A commitment, from the top, that this place is going to be different. The commitment is open-ended. It involves leading and showing up and keeping promises, for months and years into the future. . . . This is going to take a long time.
We believe it is time to begin executing “business a better way” in alignment with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities–it is time to begin faithfully “doing right” through Integriosity®.
SPOILER ALERT: Much of RE-ALIGN will sound familiar because it is applying the principles of RENEW to the goals of RE-IMAGINE.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): You have probably heard people say “it is easier to sell a painkiller than a vitamin“. Applied generally, it means that it is easier to build a business on a product people already know they need (particularly if it is solving an extreme pain-point) than on a product that you need to convince them is “good for them in the long run”. In dragging out this generalization, here is a little hierarchy I made up of some types of products, listed from easiest to hardest to sell:
- An inexpensive painkiller for a debilitating pain.
- An expensive painkiller for a debilitating pain.
- An inexpensive painkiller for a slight discomfort.
- An expensive painkiller for a slight discomfort.
- An inexpensive vitamin that is easy to swallow.
- An inexpensive vitamin that tastes bad.
- An expensive vitamin with the promise of fast and miraculous results.
- An expensive vitamin with long-term benefits that is easy to swallow.
- An expensive vitamin with long-term benefits that tastes bad.
- An expensive vitamin with long-term benefits that is difficult to administer, potentially tastes bad and is taken by very few people and even has many strong opponents (either because they don’t believe in the benefits, want to avoid the bad taste, can’t be bothered with the time commitment, or do not want to face questions or pushback from the culture).
Integriosity is probably #10. I am not planning the IPO of Integrous (or even a merger with a SPAC). Why on earth would I be pursuing a #10? The answer can be found in the five key ingredients of RE-ALIGN. I will close with another insightful blog from Seth Godin:
It’s fun to imagine what we’d do if we had a magic wand, something that with a wave, could produce . . . the shortcut. . . . They stopped making magic wands several millennia ago. Now that you know that there are no magic wands, a better question is probably: What do you care enough about that you’re prepared to expose yourself to fear, risk and hard work to get?