In the concepts in Jim Collins’ book, “Good to Great”, he discusses the key points from his research on how the best companies go from good to great. Last time, we discussed Level 5 Leadership. This time, we’ll discuss the next important thing: Getting the Right People on the Bus.
One of the problems with many companies is they hire people who have specific talents, but the people are not the “right fit” for the overall goals of the company. Note that this is a bus, if a person does not fit in one seat, they may fit well in another seat (position), however if they are a bad fit for the bus, there is no seat that will fit them well.
There must be a shared vision that carries the company to success. Why is our military the best in the world? Because the vision is strong and spread throughout the organization: defend freedom and America.
Jim Collins teaches that when someone is wrong for the bus, it is best to quickly remove that person. It does not help the company or the person to have him linger, trying to keep him on simply because we hate to fire anyone.
So, how does this fit in with the LDS Church? At first glance, this concept may seem contrary to Christian concepts of charity, forgiveness and tolerance. Our methods of bringing people into the Church sometimes go against our teachings. I’ve seen some people baptized quickly, and then go inactive shortly afterward. Our doctrine, however, teaches:
And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church. (D&C 20:37)
Here we see a process that, if followed, would guarantee most members are the right people on the bus. The question, then, is how do we train 18 year olds how to interview a person in a way to ensure he has truly repented, received the Spirit of Christ to the remission of sins, and has a determination to serve to the end? Of course, this is no guarantee that a person may fall away later down the road, but it could eliminate much inactivity that burdens wards and branches worldwide with caring for people that do not provide any benefit for the Church bus. I once lived in a ward that had 850 members, but only 150 active. This was a huge burden on the ward, as it tried to reactivate and to grow. Most of those people were left on the books, but it perhaps would have been better for the Church to find out which were attending other churches or not interested in being Mormon, and just release them from membership. Like declaring bankruptcy allows a person or company a fresh start, this ward also could have used such a new beginning.
Regarding sin, the Church used to be very quick at excommunicating many people for grievous sins. In the last 2 decades, excommunication has often been established as a last resort event, with probation or disfellowshipping as the common sanctions. It seems we’ve chosen to set aside a few bus seats near the exit for those who are on a probation, to see if they can become right for the bus. I think that is a good balance, as long as the person is not kept in the limbo seats for years and years, but are either brought back fully into activity or removed from the bus.
It is very important for the Church to be able to clean house. There is no doubt that the Church has its enemies, and keeping those who become enemies of the Church on the bus is to commit suicide. We need to have respectful discussions on difficult topics, but the concept that those who openly attack the prophets are heading into apostasy is very correct.
So, it may be that the LDS Church is as successful as it is, because we do try to have the right people on the bus. With this comes the caveat that our less actives may become such a big burden on us that the bus will no longer be drivable, at least in some wards and branches. For those who fall into apostasy, defined by the Church and not by the apostates or media, we need to remove them quickly from the bus.