The Grass Will Be Greener On The Other Side.
The landscape design for East Burwood has been completed. The designer has heard our concerns that the property have an all Australian native garden, and he's done more.
He has also heard our concern about good stewardship. That we want the building to not be an unreasonable drain on the earth's resources.
Take the grass for instance. He is recommending that we plant a native tussocky grass.
In summer, like most native grasses, it will change colour to a silver-grey. In Autumn it will go green again.
But the hidden news is that the grass won't need watering. Compared with a normal lawn, this one will save thousands of gallons of water a year.
That will not only save World Vision money, but preserve an increasingly scarce resource in Melbourne.
World Vision US magazine ran an article recently on the impact of cigarette smoking on the poor in the developing world.
Without proper regulation, or health warnings, cigarette smoking is increasing at 2% a year in the third world, while it falls 2% in the developed world.
And, despite the concern in America about Colombian cocaine, the facts are that more Colombian people will die from American cigarettes, than Americans will die from Colombian cocaine.
Where you stand, depends on where you sit.
Thoughts on Christian Leadership.
Among the things I shared today with managers were the following:
We believe our work is the most important work that is being done in Australia today. I hope you believe that. I do. There is no more significant organisational task in Australia today than the empowering and transforming work to which we are called in World Vision. It is the most important job in Australia. As I say to business people I meet, it deserves the best resources, the best methods, the best minds, the best people. And I am pleased to say that out of the top 30 people working in overseas aid in Australia, 29 report to me. Modesty prevents me from identifying the other one.
Management is changing. If you last did a basic management course more than 8 years ago, you are well out of date. Management has changed out of sight in the last decade. Some of us urgently need refresher courses, like the one Leo Stacy ran this week for some of you. Leo still teaches the Four Spiritual Laws of Management - Planning, Organising, Leading and Controlling. Management is still basically about these four things. But management is no longer about bossing. It is about coaching. It is no longer about issuing instructions, it is about creating environments for achievement. Management is no longer about rules, it is about values. There is no longer a science of management. There is now the art of management.
Our task - your task and mine as leaders within World Vision of Australia - is not to create new structures to get things done. Our task is to build the organisation. Good managers will gradually stop searching around for the ideal structure to impose like a template on the company from the top down. Instead, we shall focus on the challenge of building up an appropriate set of staff attitudes and skills and linking them together with carefully developed processes and relationships. Building from the bottom up, rather than imposing from the top down. Sounds like we may have learned something from community development with the poor after all.
The key to making good use of the corporate vision is that we have consistent interpretations of it everywhere. Whether in the mail room or the Adelaide office we should find a similar understanding of what world vision is about (vision) and how we are to behave (values).
Christian leaders cannot simply be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. Their leadership must be rooted in the permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source for their words, advice and guidance. (Henri Nouwen).