The quest of this paper is to help unearth who I am as a strategic leader and how I function within the scope of my personal, professional and collective life. While at the same time answering questions about how I practice my values, mission, and vision. One of the things I have adjusted years ago was with trying not to use the term “weakness”. We will, therefore, define the term weakness as “growth area”. “Growth areas” are defined as, areas that require additional work to be categorized as strength. I will work through the Birkman assessment to highlight some of these areas.
Ecc 1:18 The more you know, the more you hurt; the more you understand, the more you suffer (CEV). Solomon later affirms in Prov. 3:13 that Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, (CSB). In all of this the more knowledge you have about the area the more you question things. But all of this is important if the knowledge gain comes with wisdom
Growing up in the island with a mother and Father, 4 brothers and a sister we had to have a sense of organization happening within the home to make things work. Being the third of the six, there were times when I didn’t like the way the older ones were doing things. I quickly learned I would need to influence the next generation if I was going to change the pattern. My Siblings later felt that I was the one to follow and as Northouse (2019) would say, I emerged as the leader of the siblings (p. 8).
During my journey, whether professionally or just personally I never felt that I was the literary driven one. I have always seen myself as one who is logical and vocal. My wife would always say I speak in binary codes, ones and zeros (101010) like my computers. I would generally agree and disagree with her, as I thought she was just trying to push my buttons. But, during my first degree, my counseling lecturer said I always wanted the details to make inform decisions rather than being a plunger like him. He would say Jason, Plunge and then ask the question.
Understanding the Stressors
I have generally seen myself as a calm and relaxed individual who believes you can find the good in everyone and everything that you deal with, nonetheless, there are always stressors which will require a deeper depth of time than others; depending on if the area/s being impacted is a “growth area” or “strength”.
Personal: We recently moved to Calgary, Alberta just over a year ago. And so everything had to be calculated and within specific timelines. I worked an IT job at nights while still going to another during the day. I was in the process of replanting a church, had a son going to a private school in the North East, my wife going to work on the deep north-west. We had to locate a babysitter from my homeland for my second son while changing my night job. We were house hunting and I’m the only driver to move everyone. The stress level was high, but because it’was my family the motor skills defined it as being ok. I had to ensure that everyone knew their role and executed. When this didn’t happen I would go silent and just take a seat and say nothing more. This is me trying to find the positive in the situation.
Professional: From a professional viewpoint I struggle with organizations without proper policy, a procedure, and processes. My response is to critically analyze the “growth area” with the perspective to provide a positive feedback. The core departure point is that all human beings, which includes business and organisation leaders, inherently have the capacity and potential to do both good and evil. (Ungerer, Ungerer & Herholdt, pg. 9). And every entity has the potential to do good. So in spite of the lack of systems which significantly agitates me, I am looking for the positive. Another stressor is that of becoming disenfranchise when there is a lack of communication. This process disrupts the harmony of the setting and leaves instability.
With the general circumstances that I am faced with; I’ve created a big picture to make sure that I can see all of what is happening and ensure there is a way to find clarity and understanding while assuring the family is still balanced.
Wants, Needs, Strength, Growth area
Within my Birkman assessment, it made mention of the fact that I need for people to show that they appreciate me. It defined that there is an underlining need to feel the genuine respect and appreciation from those who are close to me (Birkman. 2017, p.20).
My interest in leadership was fueled primary because of a void that I saw in the life of the church. I grew up in the church and most of my activities were church driven. I am not saying I’m ungrateful but saying those that were leaders came across as persons who used the opportunity to achieve personal gains rather than to enrich the lives of those around. Strategic leadership was missing. Hughes, et al, 2014, explains strategic leadership as; individuals and teams that create direction, alignment, and commitment to achieve the enduring performance potential of the organization (p.11) and in this case individuals.
The journey I am on is guided by the word of God as mentioned earlier. Because Christ has served me it is my responsibility to serve others. My strength revolves around the areas of helping others in making their lives better or more productive. This process sometimes can be read differently as my personality is one that is straightforward where I will share my mind respectfully. Persons, therefore, can interpret this as being too frank. I spoke with a young lady I met when I first came into Canada about 2 days ago. I asked her how would your assessment my leadership? Her response had me reflecting. She said, “you run into people too quickly and asking for too much too quick”. But has time progress she has really appreciated the friendship. This is one area that I will have to spend some time working on, being strategic with the initial connection.
From a Caribbean perspective, we interact entirely different to each other than in the North American settings which is based on everyone having their “bubble”
The Caribbean is a bit more relaxed, flexible, interactive, communal while the North Americans are a bit more withdrawn, precise with what is being done among others
We sometimes get caught in the web where we feel being the pastor and saying “hi” is the same as being relational. True leaders care about people, and they always seek the potential within them (Munro, p.195). This requires that you invest within the relationship.
The same thing is true with my journey; that I have to be persistent in building a relationship with my wife and kids. And so, in working through my “growth area” and strengths. Hughes et al, 2014 strategy involves change, and achieving long-term performance (p21). This is what I desire over the long-haul. I would love to see where I become the persuasive leader who has a healthy self-awareness.
Mission, Vision, and Values
As a Christian, I’m guided by the scriptures which provides direction for my day to day living.
I have written so many mission and vision for my life which has evolved over the years.
An online article from the Live Career writers’ website referred to one of their writing about; the five-step plan for creating personal mission statements cited Steven Covey (in his book First Things First) refers to developing a mission statement as “connecting with your own unique purpose and the profound satisfaction that comes from fulfilling it.” (https://www.livecareer.com/career/advice/jobs/creating-personal-mission-statements).
My vision is to be the very best me while reaching out to others around me. This very best me is to be a part of a community, that provides, the opportunity for growth and development where potentials flourish. (Act 6). I am guided by the mission statement, to provide service, that is exceptional, courteous and caring to my brothers and sisters, while holding his or her hand along the journey (Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. Gal 6:1, NIV) This has become the statement that I walk with daily. Building health people who are relevant to the times. It is my passion to influence others around me and to see their potential come to life
Values: My core values are not limited to the ones stated here, but these stand out as the pillars from which I currently function. To Lead requires that people around me can feel and sense and see that I am genuine (authentic) which will allow my ministry to flourish and to give validity to those that I work within the secular. I am called to be the light of the earth. With this, there must be Balance within the community where others have an opportunity to contribute and feel valued, where honesty and respect is key
While (Hughes et al. 2014) made the notation, crafting strategy is more of a discovery process than it is a determination process (p.28). I have realized that there a few “strategic drivers” that can be deployed to aid in the developmental process to provide the impact needed for change and growth. The first strategic driver is Assertiveness. Years ago I did a premarital course and through that course, I came to realize that as men we are not as assertive as we need to be. This is something I have been working on with my spouse, and a few friends. Secondly, my physical energy. According to my report, I am naturally at a high energy level. But if things are not moving fast enough boredom sets in. Within the Christian ministry, there is no quick fix for the cases you have to detail with. You are required to be patient with people and to provide a place where empathy and understanding can be expressed without rushing the process. At the end of the day, the task is to continually be in a process of review, and exploration as to understand which one of the gifts are applicable in the situation your in. Prov. 18:16, A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men (kvJ)
Hughes et al. 2014, makes it clear that strategy is a learning process (p21). If the culture is going to be changed, then it requires us to be aware that change is something that must happen. This process cannot happen with a vacuum. It is, therefore, our responsibility to create a culture where change is seen as something good and is done progressively (p21).
Currently, I am in between assignment for the church, due to studies and work, but also being new to the city. However, I would love to create the culture where my leaders can have an honest meaningful conversation which can be translated into tangible assets of trust, and loyalty where a sense of pride is adding value to the community.
This assessment is one all leaders should endeavor to do. It stretches the mind and the heart into more in-depth thoughts about one’s leadership ability and the motives behind your quest. The great commission (Matt 28), clearly places the responsibility for producing the quality leaders that the world needs upon the shoulders of the Christian church. Yet the church itself is in need of quality leadership (Munroe, p17)
Old Economy Thinking versus New Economy Thinking
One of the things that changed for me years ago was the idea of “Leadership as position and entitlement”. There is something about being in a chair of positional leadership. There is a sense that no one is above you and your authority is the final one. Within the context of the ministry, leaders have often found it difficult to change from the old thinking. What is more alarming is seeing those who should be emergent leaders in the context now embracing the same “old economy thinking”? We are called to be servants. Our new thinking should move us away from the position of power to one of servanthood and stewardship. (Ungerer et al., 2016 p 15).
To be a better strategic leader, who can create the direction, alignment, and commitment for the organization to have its performance achieved and the hearts, minds, and hand involved of those engaged (Hughes et al., 2014. P41) will require that I work on my “strategic thinking and influence”. This process is needed to engage the leadership structure and the internal community while forging a relationship with the external community. This will see us reaching our community more and to have a meaningful conversation at the table.
Beliefs drive behavior in organizations. So, to change behaviours to a new way of doing things, beliefs need to change (p48). The Business of ministry is changing beliefs. It is creating a new way of thinking and seeing them through a different lens or worldview. This process is called “shaping culture”. As leaders, we have a responsibility to aid in the changing of cultures around us. While this is not an easy process, it requires a level of open, honest dialogue that creates vulnerability in the organization (p.48). Our job is to align ourselves with the knowledge so that the is no ambiguity or chaos.
Hansen, Randall. The Five-Step Plan for Creating Personal Mission Statements. 1 Aug. 2018, www.livecareer.com/career/advice/jobs/creating-personal-mission-statements. Accessed 5 Oct. 2018
Hughes, R. L., Beatty, Collarelli-Beatty, K., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: Your role in your organization’s enduring success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Munroe, Myles (2009). Becoming A leader: Discover The Leader You Were Meant To Be!. Nassau Bahamas, Whittake House.
Northouse, P. G. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE
Ungerer, M., Ungerer, G., & Herholdt, J. (2016). Navigating strategic possibilities: Strategy formulation and execution practices to flourish. Randburg: KR Publishing Publications