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The Power in The Salvation Army Recapturing the Founder’s Mentality

The Salvation Army Founder’s mentality has the power and strategy to help us rediscover our core mission and transform lives from the front line up.

This is the third post in a series based on the book, The Founder’s Mentality, by Chris Zook and James Allen (Harvard Business Review Press, 2016). You can find the first post here and the second post here.

The Power of the Founder’s Mentality

Using the example of Norwegian Cruise Line, Zook and Allen identify five initiatives rooted in the power of the founder’s mentality, which I think have something to say to The Salvation Army today.

Opening Up Lines of Communication

In my experience, one of the dysfunctions that plagues The Salvation Army today is that front line personnel do not believe that headquarters personnel understand the challenges of their work, and vice versa. We have to find a way of connecting or (I hope) reconnecting these two “sides”. Perhaps frontline personnel should be more involved in processes and decisions that are currently handled exclusively by headquarters personnel? Maybe frontline personnel could be included in some of the many leaders’ conferences that are held in order to give a frontline perspective?

Celebrating frontline heroes

There are some great things happening on the frontline. Let’s find ways of sharing that news with an emphasis on sharing good practice with the movement to better serve our mission to save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity.

Make consistent improvement a focus

Parts of the movement will make changes to operations and processes on occasion (for example, The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland have recently gone through such a change, known as Fit for Mission). During such changes, Zook and Allen argue that in order to plug in to the power of the founder’s mentality, the ideas about how to improve and streamline operations and processes to support the mission should come from the frontline rather than be imposed by headquarters or from professional consultants. Extensive discussion forums would help inform any proposed changes.

Codify best practices

There are frontline personnel across the movement who have honed great ways of delivering our mission. The tragedy is that no-one knows about them, and so no-one can replicate them or adapt them for their environment. In this day and age, it shouldn’t be difficult to share best practices across the movement.

Keeping personnel focused on our core mission and the needs of the world

Every person – soldiers, adherents, friends, corps officers, divisional, regional and headquarters staff (both professionals and officers) need to keep the core mission and the needs of the world forefront in their minds. We have to find more and better ways to communicate these fundamentals on a daily basis.

In what other ways could the power of the founder’s mentality inform The Salvation Army’s strategy and practice to ensure we are truly focused on our core mission?

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Why not check out these posts from around the blog?

  1. Self Denial: The Salvationist’s Most Effective Weapon
  2. Becoming a Salvation Army Soldier of the Way
  3. Good Friday | The Cross? So What?
  4. Growing All By Itself
  5. Willing to Witness
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2 thoughts on “The Power in The Salvation Army Recapturing the Founder’s Mentality”

  1. Michelle Wheeler

    I have just gone back and read your first two blogs relating to this book. There are very interesting insights here and I resonate with what you are saying.

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