Jesus said that every tree is known by its own fruit.
At the corporate level, organizational intelligence is indifferent to the internal processes, structures, and beliefs of a particular congregation or faith-based ministry. While we recognize that denominational distinctives, styles of worship, and congregational qualities are important to members, they are in many ways inaccessible to us as outsiders beyond the scribbles on our flip charts.
The focus of organizational intelligence is on the fruit of the ministry, not as we would judge it, but as members bear witness to it. What we are asking members to identify is the quality of shared life, in the most literal terms, the “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
We don’t use these exact words in OI because they are value-laden and subject to what is known as “idealistic distortion.” Idealistic distortion is the tendency to see one’s behavior in an overly positive manner. For example, when surveyed about whether they are good drivers, the great majority of respondents indicate they are “better than average.” Outside of Lake Wobegon, this is mathematically impossible!
When we speak of “satisfaction” we have good reason to believe that we are actually measuring aspects of love and peace. When we speak of “energy” we believe we are measuring aspects of joy and goodness. The hospitality that members offer to others (kindness), the capacity to manage conflicting differences (forbearance), and the willingness to follow leaders in a governance structure (faithfulness and self-control) are all expressions of this spiritual fruit.
Jesus indicated this to be the ultimate test of discipleship: “that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” Notice that it is addressed corporately to disciples, that is, how we live in community. In this sense, engaging organizational intelligence is an act of corporate discipleship, looking beyond all the necessary processes at the roots to discover what is actually being produced as fruit.
Founder of Holy Cow! Consulting