If you have ever carried a box of your possessions into your new office on your first day of work, you know how exciting and overwhelming that can be. You have to figure out where to put that picture of your spouse, or what your computer login is, or where the coffee maker is, but perhaps the hardest task ahead of you is knowing how the organization’s relationships work. As a new leader of any organization, that first few weeks of navigating those relationships can be crucial. For those of you in that new leadership position, we offer Family Tree™.
Step back and Look at the View
It takes time for a new leader to meet all the members of their team or organization, and even longer to understand how they are connected to one another. Family Tree
familiarizes a new leader with those connections and helps him or her get to know the “family” more quickly. Churches and other religious organizations find the information provided by the Family Tree©
to be helpful whenever they are preparing to bring a new leader on board such as a Pastor, Bishop, or Executive. Likewise, nonprofits and schools find the information from this report helpful whenever they are preparing to bring on a new Executive Director or other new key leadership member.
The Family Tree™ is a two-question, online survey of a congregation, regional religious association, nonprofit, or other organization that is completed by its members and staff. While most surveys ask evaluative questions of respondents, the Family Tree asks about the connections of members to one another. This enables us to generate a series of maps that show how the organization is relationally networked.
The Map of the Forest
The Family Tree report provides a map of the relationships within an organization, shows which ones are carrying a lot of information and which ones are connecting just a few people. Some relationships are one-way; others are reciprocal. Having these maps helps a leader know how to navigate the relational space of an organization.
The maps show a number of views of an organization. One view shows the Isolates, that is, the folks who are isolated. Another view shows the Islands, the people who are connected to one another but not to the “trunk of the tree”. Still another view shows the Bridges. These people are the glue in an organization. Without the Bridges, the family would fragment into many disconnected clans. The final view shows the Key Figures. These are the major relational intersections in the congregation where a lot of information traffic is flowing. Key Figures are usually informal leaders.
Haven’t we been here before?
Most organizations, religious and otherwise, already have an organizational chart. These charts show what roles people have within the organization and who they report to in the chain of command. In many situations, there are important informal leaders who do not sit in official positions. These are not discovered in a formal organizational chart, but often through trial and error.
Family Tree helps orient a new leader to the informal structure of a church or organization in the same way that an organizational chart orients a new leader to the formal structure. These maps might be used by a new leader to reach out to those who are isolated. Or a new leader might try to find ways to connect the Islands to everyone else. A new leader could use the maps as a way of building consensus on important decisions rather than simply engaging in top down decision-making.
Hopefully, your new team members will help you find the coffee maker in your new office. But let us help you see the forest as you start your new journey. For more information on Family Tree
or to get started visit us at www.holycowconsulting.com