How to Raise Your Organizational Intelligence Quotient

How to Raise Your Organizational Intelligence Quotient

By Steve Pike, Founder of Urban Islands Project

You’ve heard about I.Q.—Wikipedia says I.Q. is a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. I.Q. was a big deal when I was a kid. In more recent years, a lot of research has been conducted and books have been written about E.Q.—Wikipedia says that E.Q. is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).

More recently, a new category of intelligence has emerged. Wikipedia calls it Organizational Intelligence and defines it as following: “Organizational Intelligence (OI) is the capability of an organization to comprehend and conclude knowledge relevant to its business purpose. In other words, it is the intellectual capacity of the entire organization.”

The application of the concept of organizational intelligence to the organization or church you lead should be self-evident. Well-led organizations will do everything they can to optimize their collective intelligence for the good of the organization. But I’d like to offer another way of thinking about organizational intelligence. 

I’ve concluded that the most effective church starters have a high personal O.I. Personal Organizational Intelligence refers to the ability of an individual to properly understand their relationship to the organizations around them and maximize the cumulative assets of those organizations to optimize the start up process of the new church they are leading. With that definition in mind, here are some ways to raise your Personal Organizational Intelligence.

  1. Understand that there is no such thing as a perfect organization. Once people are involved, the functioning of the organization is going to be impacted by the frailties of human choices and behavior. 
  2. Choose to withhold criticism of the organization unless you have a well thought out solution to the matter you believe needs to be critiqued.
  3. Organizations tend to be made up of a collection of policies and procedures that have been constructed over time to help the organization function well and stay on mission. Attempting to go around policies and procedures may seem to speed things up in the short term, but it will slow things down in the long run. Seek to understand how the organization works and then present your request/case in the most effective format for the culture and traditions of the organization. This approach will minimize friction and allow you to more quickly benefit from the resources of the organization.
  4. Seek to build a reputation as a person/organization that can be counted on to act in the best interests of the organization. Trust speeds everything up. 
  5. If you find yourself in constant conflict with an organization, maybe it’s time to find another organization that is structured in a manner that is more compatible with your personal values. However, keep number 1 (above) in mind and be sure you avoid simply chasing greener grass on the other side of the fence. 
  6. Starting a church is a complex and error-prone endeavor. Partnering with multiple organizations can be helpful, provided that they are able to complement one another. Do your homework and ask a lot of questions before you join up with too many different supporting organizations.

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