The Third Turn

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

Bridging the chasm between faith and responsibility

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Aug 13, 2020 9:00:00 AM
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Such a deep separation exists between the language of faith and the language of fiscal responsibility that one wonders if it is a chasm no human may cross (with a nod to Luke 16:26).  Let’s be clear that the language of faith need not be religious.  The language of faith believes that communicating the need makes it possible for people and/or God to provide.  As my dad frequently said, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get."
 
 
The language of faith says:
 
Build it, and they will come!
 
and
 
We have to put a challenge in front of ourselves!
 
and
 
What if God calls us to do something that goes beyond our plans?
 
 
 
The language of fiscal responsibility says:
 
Do we have the money for this?
 
and
 
We should pay our bills before we incur new ones.
 
and
 
Did we budget for it?
 
 
 
When fiscal responsibility hears faith say “Yes!” it is thought irresponsible. When faith hears fiscal responsibility ask how something will be paid for, what is heard is “No!”
 
The faith orientation thinks that fiscal responsibility is tight-fisted. The fiscal responsibility orientation thinks that faith spends money without thought.
 
This tension is often found between the vision/sales/fundraising and finance/operations/customer service functions of an organization. It also can mark the difference between the entrepreneur and her banker or investors.
 
Design Group International thinks there is a bridge across the chasm, and we enjoy helping organizations build it. In truth, both faith and fiscal responsibility are needed to run a sustained and sustaining enterprise. Wise leaders stand in the middle of this bridge and expect both ends to contribute toward a unified whole. 
 
If answered seriously and strategically, one simple question makes a significant difference in the health of an organization:
 
What most helps us fulfill our mission next year also?
 
If key staff members are unwilling to engage this question, they should not be in their seats. When a senior team does not embrace the whole responsibility of running an enterprise, they constantly tear each other down in order to look better than their peers. They are not coming to work with mission fulfillment in mind. This drags the CEO/Owner/Executive Director back into the operations of the business and hinders their ability to face toward and build the future value of the organization for which they are responsible. 
 
Speaking much more plainly: a thriving enterprise builds this bridge so that the chasm between faith and funding is a moot point. 
 
If you really want to build this bridge among your people, they have to want to be the lumber of needed quality.
 
 
 
 
Maestro-level leaders is a new initiative from Design Group International. Learn more about it here.

Topics: fiscal responsibility, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn

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