The Talent Myth in the Church Office

December 11, 2004 by

There’s a very interesting manifesto titled “The Talent Myth” published at ChangeThis by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point. His basic argument is that when it comes to businesses, individual smarts may not be as important as having smart systems. His chief example is that of Enron, which is a company that went with the “promote genius individuals at all costs” method.

This is a point I’ve been making for a couple years now about small businesses, church organizations and professional service firms. For a one person outfit, genius and talent are key. The larger an organization gets, though, the more important process and systems become. Both from the point of view of marketing and other business functions, and from the point of view of how you work with your members. Working together well is more important than having a couple stars on the team.

The great thing about good marketing systems is that they will survive the loss of any given person or administration, too. If you rely on the personality of a “rain maker” to bring in all your new members, what will you do when he/she leaves? You will go thirsty. But if you develop and document effective programs, you’ll be able to continue refining and perfecting them throughout the tenure of many different leaders.

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Andy Havens


Andy Havens brings 15 years of experience to the table and is the founder and president of the marketing firm Sanestorm, as well as a number of different blogs. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife, Christina, and his son, Daniel.
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One Response to “The Talent Myth in the Church Office”

  • Crull Chambless
    December 21, 2004

    Great examples of Andy’s take on “The Talent Myth” is the explosion of satellite churches. It’s an interesting exercise to wonder if the Northpointe Buckhead campus would survive without Andy Stanley’s teaching, or if Hillsong’s branches throughout Europe will survive the retirement of Darlene Zchech. The hope and prayer is that the processes that are in place to accomplish successful brand extension is in fact a non-reliance on any one personality.
    Either way, I’m always excited to hear about churches who are growing and breaking new ground rather than the decline of most churches in America today.



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