On Thursday February 11th the ELCA Churchwide office hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Linda Hill, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and author of “Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation.” The goal of the webinar was to introduce to ELCA leaders the ideas she has developed around innovation and working within systems to move change.
Dr. Hill talked about a number of topics but most critically about the need for organizations to have a shared culture around their mission. This does not mean the organization is homogeneous, in fact diversity is vital as is productive friction, however the mission and values must be clear and communicated.
She also talked about the need for the leader in the system to develop a community in which they do not need to micromanage because the priorities of the organization are clear. That then allows the leader to network outside the system to connect with and grow possibilities. This relates directly to our congregations where so often we become centered on caring for those inside the system that we fail to look and connect outside.
Innovation means taking risks and tolerating failure. Another area that is challenging for our church and congregations. But it is essential particularly in this time of pandemic and continual challenge and crisis. We have been forced to adapt and learn new things. The question for us, as I have posed it, is how will we continue to innovate as we move through 2021. We will not simply go back to what was but a new reality is being formed.
I appreciate the ELCA Churchwide office and particularly Mikka McCracken, director of the innovation unit, for this opportunity to hear from Dr. Hill. Fun fact, Dr. Hill was baptized Lutheran. However as she lives now in Boston she attends historic Trinity Episcopal now. Interestingly they also have moved their services online during this time and she reflected that it has been a time of growth for her as she has met new members of the congregation because she no longer simply sits in her regular pew. Innovation and learning. #NTNL #InMissionTogether