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“great” cross cultural work

I am reading some great books on leadership at the moment, I just finished Good to Great, and I am just starting The one thing you should know

One great big theme that jumps out of both books for me is the suggested concept that perhaps we should study greatness in order to discover how to be great. Now this is so self-evident that it almost sounds foolish, yet a good point can be made here.

I think that we often study failure in order to avoid failure (ie Saul’s leadership style), this can help us to a point; we avoid mistakes, we improve our competencies. Yet, to study failure in order to understand greatness can also bring us to wrong conclusions. Specifically, the thought that if we simply choose the opposite actions from failure, then we will undoubtedly find success. This at first sounds right, but if I think for a moment, I realise that success is not merely the opposite of failure, rather it is a proactive addition or striving to something else.

The illustration given in The one thing involves marriage. (how apropos to me as a newlywed – anyways.) There was a study done on great marriages, and consistently they found out that the reason for great marriages do not fit many common categorisations. A great marriage does not merely have the opposite of a poor marriage. The couple may not have incredible communication, or equality in roles; all in vogue today as formulas to a great marriage. Great marriages simply needed to be a simple self->delusion Every trait of the other needed to be seen in a positive light (sort of like when you first start dating), there needed to be a optimistic sense that the other person was better than they were. If they ignored you when they were typing on a computer (for example), then they were not ‘rude and insensitive’ – rather they were ‘focused’. This delusion leads to an upward spiral, and the marriage is tighter.

I wonder if we can look for the ‘one thing’ for Short Term Mission work that defines greatness.

How about this? The one thing that makes a team greater than another is a desire for the best for everyone that the team touches, both the people outside as well as inside the team. It is not which training manual you use, which team building game you choose, what focus you look towards while overseas, but simply that all on the team feel that the best for everyone involved is an achievable goal. The best – seems to me to be something that God desires for us.

Do you agree or disagree? love to hear your thoughts

June 1, 2005

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