Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mushy Middle

How's that for a title? I read an interesting short article from a man named Diego Rodriguez. He is a partner at a company called IDEO.

IDEO (pronounced “eye-dee-oh”) is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. They envision new companies and brands and design the products, services, spaces and interactive experiences which bring them to life. They help organizations build creative culture and the internal systems required to sustain innovation and launch new ventures.

Diego wrote the following, which I thought was insightful and helpful to churches.

It is so important to have a strong point of view. Let me repeat: it is so important to have a strong point of view. You've got to stand for something.

If you don't have a point of view, you won't know what you don't stand for, and so you'll be tempted to try and do everything, because "no" won't be in your vocabulary. Trying to appeal to everyone by playing in the mushy middle not only will make you less appealing over the long haul (because being boring is not attractive), it also makes it very difficult to get started (because the enormity of the task makes everything too daunting to tackle), and makes it really tough to ship (because you have to do so much in order to meet the needs of so many people).

Having a point of view is incredibly liberating. It takes more energy and more time to get to an honest understanding of what you believe in, what you need to do, and what you won't do, but it is well and truly worth it.”

The mushy middle is no fun. Where there is no priority of purpose or strategy, folks will begin trying to pull towards their personal passions. People will polarize around their preferences.

Unity develops around strong vision. (Strong vision will make some people mad.) We think we’ll bring people together if we try to make everyone happy, but that tactic ultimately leads to dissension and division and in the end, nobody is really happy.

Just a thought on a Wednesday morning.

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