One of the pastors of the Free-Will Baptist Church preaches to his congregation. Wheelwright Junction, Floyd County, Kentucky. 1946. By Russell Lee. NARA

Managing a Church of High-Moders

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

One of the guys I interviewed for my CIP training class with PeopleFit was a local Christian Reformed pastor, whom I had hoped would give me an example of Stratum 3. Instead, he gave me what seemed clearly Stratum 5. An example:

ME: [REV], I’d love to hear what you think is the most critical issue facing y’all today.

REV: As far as for [CHURCH]?

ME: Yeah. This is all work related.

REV: Yeah, okay. Number one critical issue would be sustainability for the future. You want me to unpack that for you?

Which he then did.

(If you’ve been trained in the PeopleFit method, email me and I can supply the interview with my annotations.)

At 46, 5L-5M, he would be (if I’m remembering this right) Mode 7. Which is pretty impressive.

His problem was that he had even higher modes in the congregation.

I will be posting interviews with parishioners over the next few weeks. Comment if you think that I’m wrong. God knows that I don’t do this for a living and I don’t have any fancy tools other than the interview. I don’t do the inkblots or whatever the BIOSS thing is, although I hear it’s neat.

(To be frank, hearing how it’s given just made me roll my eyes: I am much old to play “figure out what I have in my head. I’ve heard that you sit down and get a pile of cards. You have to create three piles, one “doesn’t fit”, one “fit” and one “wait until later”. Then the interviewer will tell you which of your “fit” cards are right. I’d just give you the cards, let you give me the ones that agree with your pattern and then play it from there. Always get rid of noise first and concentrate of signal. As I said, I’m too old to play “guess what I’m thinking!” any more. Which would probably invalidate the card sort.)

Anyway, I’ll post the interviews as I get them done. All of them will be done from today, except the pastor’s.

The point is to ask a good question: how do you manage a church with statistically impossible numbers of modes 6-9? I’m providing the interviews for people to call “bullshit” on me, since it seems that no one believes me when I say that I get these in interviews.

I want to point out that I’m not an expert but I have gotten the same numbers (well, usually off by 1/3, but in the same Stratum) as Glenn and Michelle for anyone or interview that they had done previously. So I feel slightly comfortable doing this. But I also want to know if I just got the “listening sideways” wrong. God knows that you can. I’ve heard the experts warn again and again.

So I want to provide the interview with my annotations so that others can, if they have any interest, pull apart my problem by saying that it simply didn’t exist.

Personally, I think that high-modes are much more common that Jaques believed. Everyone wants to think that they’re special, including big-time academics and CEOs. I see the skillset as rare but not the raw capacity. My guess is that Jaques didn’t see them because they don’t work in well-run companies. They work Stratum 1 and 2 jobs in poorly run companies where their abilities to pull the fat out of the fire in complete chaos can keep them working. They also find positions where they aren’t really managed but left alone. Everyone then says that we need to keep them around because they can do X or Y, but they have serious personality problems so we can’t promote them.

If Jaques had worked with severely underemployeds, he’d have found something else. These folks aren’t getting beyond Stratum 1 so I can’t imagine that they would have been in his interview pool. You don’t make money finding gold at the bottom of the barrel. Besides, these folks all have severe psychological problems developed from working so many levels beneath their capacity. If you think that you have problems as a Stratum 3 working for a Stratum 3, try being a Stratum 5 working for a Stratum 2. BIOSS is right: it produces anxiety psychoses, which lead to coping mechanisms that are strange.

Anyway, here starts the project.

Also, I’m going to be moving all my personal stuff over to here sooner or later. There will be many, many duplicates and I’ll be removing my name again. Why not? It’s not like I make money off this stuff. (Well, I’m helping rewrite some articles on RO right now, but that’s it.)

Image Credit: One of the pastors of the Free-Will Baptist Church preaches to his congregation. Wheelwright Junction, Floyd County, Kentucky. 1946. By Russell Lee. NARA

About the Author

Forrest Christian

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E. Forrest Christian is a consultant, coach, author, trainer and speaker at The Manasclerk Company who helps managers and experts find insight and solutions to what seem like insolvable problems. Cited for his "unique ability and insight" by his clients, Forrest has worked with people from almost every background, from artists to programmers to executives to global consultants. Forrest lives and works plain view of North Carolina's Mount Baker.  [contact]

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