Earlier this week Steve Jobs introduced the next generation of iPhone…but what everyone was waiting for was his announcement that the iPhone would be available on multiple wireless carriers. It didn’t happened. Jobs pointed out that the iPhone was a leader in smartphone sales…but they do not have the market to themselves…and are losing market share each quarter. This has nothing to do with the iPhone itself…it is because the wireless service for the iPhone is handled exclusively by AT&T. AT&T has the worst phone and 3G coverage…worse customer satisfaction rating…and just announced that they will no longer provide unlimited data plans. The iPhone is an amazingly creative, innovative and revolutionary piece of technology that is hobbled by Apple allowing only one substandard wireless company to service it. The problem is vision. Apple wants to create cutting-edge technology that raises the bar for the entire industry. AT&T wants to make as much money as they can for the least amount of service they can provide. Apple created a great smartphone but got the wrong people on board (AT&T) to implement the project.
Too many times the church is like Apple. God gives us great ideas…revolutionary strategies…and creative opportunities…and we spoil it by linking the whole concept with the wrong relationships, leaders or people. We put people in roles to carry out strategies when it’s obvious they do not share the same vision or have the proper skill set. We’re more concerned with plugging holes than taking the time to develop the people we need in positions that can further the creativity, innovation, vision and mission.
We also have a tendency to put all of our eggs in one basket instead of utilizing multiple people for an area. Had Steve Jobs cut a deal for the iPhone with multiple wireless carriers the word Android wouldn’t even be mentioned by smartphone users. At Compass Point we have discovered that some people are great organizers and have a heart for our vision…but no ability to motivate people. We have found others that can motivate people and have a heart for our vision…but no ability to organize a kids’ birthday party. Instead of choosing one over the other we have utilized both of these kinds of people to co-lead a team or project. We have had great success with this model…after much communication and clarification of roles.
If God provides the vision, creativity and mission…it is our job to make sure we have the right people on board to see it through. This sometimes means rearranging people or roles. Other times it means saying “no” to some people or ideas. Sometimes it means having a hard conversation with someone that displays no leadership skills or fails to understand the vision of Compass Point. This is never fun…but we don’t want a God-inspired idea linked to substandard implementation.
UPDATE – This morning iPhone users in Florida (Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Orlando and the Lakeland area) woke up to no 3G or Edge services at all from AT&T. At 11:30 a.m. EST it has still not been restored and AT&T’s tech support is saying they have no clue what the problem is…or when we can expect it to be fixed. I rest my case. 🙂