Missionaries and productivity

The Knowledge Worker, bronze statue“[Software engineers] are the last people whom one can expect to fall in line with a good strategy developed by someone else. As for the good programmers who are in fact supremely capable, there is no reason to expect consensus to form among them. Each programmer thinks his or her idea about what to build and how to build it is the best.” Philip Greenspun ((from the Introduction, p. xxii, McKenna, Patrick J., and David H. Maister. Fisrt Among Equals: How to manage a group of professionals. New York, NY: The Free Press, 2002.))

This goes hand in hand with Thomas Davenport’s “Thinking for a living. ((Davenport, Thomas H. Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press, 2005.)) ” They both talk about knowledge workers and how to manage them getting better performance out of these great professionals. These authors are saying that all professionals are basically like this. Davenport describes knowledge workers like this, “Knowledge workers have high degrees of expertise, education, or experience, and the primary purpose of their jobs involves the creation, distribution, or application of knowledge.” (Davenport 10)

I believe that these two books could easily be applied to both missionaries and pastors. Just as there are many types of knowledge workers so are their many different kinds of missionaries and pastors. Both in Davenport’s book and in our missions organizations we talk about management as herding cats. Management and leadership of these fine people can be better and maybe these books can help us think that through..

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