Leaders Need Organizations

lasting social change does not occur through people but through institutions

In View From the Top, Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College made a point that got my attention. Lindsay said, "Lasting social change does not occur through people but through institutions. the most effective leaders, realize that institutional momentum is far more powerful than individual, charismatic personalities."

This is a valuable lesson. In North America, we are enamored with the "great leader." We are attracted to the charismatic presence. We give credibility to the power of the individual to do great things and lead great change. In reality, it is rarely an isolated individual who achieves greatness, or who leads great change. It happens when great people are positioned in major institutions, from which they can wield their influence. 

I have seen this in the evangelical mega-church situation. When well known pastors are rooted in a leading church, that is the platform that gives them a voice. When they lose their organizational platform, they fade from their place of influence and pass from public awareness. There are some leaders who are able to transcend their organizations. But in most cases, without an organization, their influence fades.

So the questions are: 

What is your Platform or Organization that will create the opportunity for you to influence and lead and create change?
How well are you leveraging your organization and role in the organization?
Do you need a different organization?

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International