2 de nov de 2015

Trunk, branches and sprigs

Functional leadership
By Jose Bernardo

The Bible is a book about leadership and management. The purpose of leadership is to orient people to the better and management is how the leader does that. Because there is nothing better than the Kingdom of God to lead people for, evangelization is the highest expression of leadership. Writer after writer of the Bible were inspired to show how to led people to the Kingdom of God. In this, military played an important role, and even in the New Testament to lead people is often portrayed as a battle or war. Matter of fact, in war we find the most dramatic scenario of leadership, where to succeed or not is counted in human lives. Then, not surprises us that the three most expressive words for management were taken from military: tactic, strategy and operation. In the tree as model of social organism, church and ministry, we can easily relate those three words to trunk, branches and sprigs. Each of this is a level of leadership in the organism, and relates to a level of functionality. Because there are no other level, even when complexity causes a large number of titles and positions, a healthy social organism is vitally flat. Excess is cancer.

Tactic, the art of arrangement. From a Greek term for art, the word means the aesthetic in positioning of elements to obtain a better result. Because that, it is easily confused with strategy and many times thought to follow, instead to precede that. However, it is not difficult to see that tactic refers to the scenario, to the positioning in the battlefield, relating to the strength of the opponents and the opportunities of the environment. In the biblical model of the tree, tactic is the function of the trunk who, after the roots of vision, mission and values, position itself in the better, as the first psalm says: "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers." Psalm 1:3. A tree like this is tactically positioned. The trunk, therefore, is the basic level of leadership and management, the founder, president, vice-presidents and core directors of a social organism. I see three responsibilities for the trunk: a) elevating - spiritually and emotionally, pushing the tree closer to the sun, close to the heaven; b) nurturing - from what find through the roots of vision, mission, values and experiences; c) uniting - keeping the branches above together, connected, forming a whole through communicating an identity.

Strategy, the job of the commander. The word in Greek means primarily multitude, then army and commander. Therefore, strategy means what the commander does and it relates to the moves of the soldiers in the battlefield after the tactical arrangements. In the functionality of the tree, strategy is the responsibility of the intermediary level of the branches: directors, managers and specialists. To have a truly functional organism, it is necessary to see three capable actions here: a) intermediation - the branches distribute the nutrients they receive from the trunk to the sprigs that they lead, and the sap, transformed in the sprigs to finally feed also the trunk and roots - they work as communication hubs; b) expansion - branches provide the capillarity of sprigs under a guidance of densification that drives to the coverage of every utile space in their area of activity; c) supporting - in a horizontal tension, the branches keep the sprigs in position, despite of the weight they eventually carry.

Operation, the work to be done. From the Latin opera and operi, words for work and worker, this is the higher and most external level of leadership. Here the outcomes show up. In the tree this is the function of the sprigs, the coordinators, supervisors, local managers and all the productive workers in full contact with the environment, the transmitter& receiver end of the organism. To function properly, there are three responsibilities that have to be accomplished at this level: a) transformation - all the nutrients received from the trunk and branches have to be transformed in energy in contact with the environment (photosynthesis) - springs unable to synthesize vision, mission and values when in contact with the environment do not end the purpose of the tree; b) reversion - branches, trunk and root do not feed themselves until they receive the feedback of the springs, the sap, in the social organism, the basic levels of authority and leadership are fed by information collected and interpreted in the operational level; c) reproduction - the work of fructify the similarity, the results with the DNA of the social organism, carrying the seed of potential replication.

There are different types of trees, and the Bible relates many of these with social organisms. A good example is from the prophet Amos when says in the name of the Lord: "Yet I destroyed the Amorites before them, though they were tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks. I destroyed their fruit above and their roots below." Amos 2:9. There are social organisms tall as cedars, others are strong as oaks, and this could represent different balance among the functions of trunk, branches and sprigs - tactic, strategy and operation. A pine tree, for instance, may be so tall that the trunk replaces many of the functions of branches and sprigs. But there is no doubt about the tree that our Lord Jesus meant the church should be: "I am the true vine", he said. Surprises me how the trunk of a vine is so weak, so ugly and so useless to any other purpose than to serve the tree in producing fruits. Same thing could be said about the branches. The vine is the kind of tree that happens in the sprigs and they are impressive. From Isaiah to Jesus, the vine represented the social organism of the people of God, the Church, because the focus on outcomes: the fruits of the Gospel in the lives of the believers and the fruits of the evangelization in the lives of the outsiders. The fruits that the gardener wants. We must not look for other kind of tree.

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