Senior Pastor, First Churches of Northampton
"Please do not laminate our new vision statement and put it on the wall," a member quipped as we completed our work on defining who we are. She had seen too many statements and strategic plans come and go, while working as a non-profit leader. They hang powerless on the wall like a "No Smoking" or "Exit" sign. Too often churches invest a year or more in clarifying purpose and developing a strategy for growth and change, only to see the wheels fall off during implementation. In stunning research by the Harvard Business School, 83% of strategic plans fail to be fully implemented. You would think new strategies have at least a 50/50 chance!
What happens to our carefully laid plans? A major reason for disappointment is that organizations fail to deal with their culture, which is not in alignment with the new plan. Culture eats strategy for breakfast! Culture is that intangible mix of attitudes, behaviors, history, standard operating procedures, assumptions and "the way we do things around here." It is mostly unnamed, but you know it when you see it.