Should You Push for Control or for Growth? Here’s How to Tell

Like Don't move Unlike

To control or to grow?

That is the question.

Effective leaders understand that growth and quality control sit on opposite ends of a leadership spectrum. When a leader places an emphasis on quality control, growth is inhibited. On the other hand, great growth can be achieved when the leader is willing to sacrifice an element of quality control.

Case in point.

Suppose you wanted to ensure the highest possible standards of quality within each small group in your church. To ensure that each small group gathering was the best possible experience you might insist that no group shall meet unless the small group pastor is personally in attendance.

That would indeed ensure quality. But how many meetings could your small groups pastor attend per week. Five? That would be the limit to the number of groups you could have in your church.

At the other extreme, think of how many groups you could launch if you paid no attention whatsoever to the quality of those groups. Growth would be unlimited, but quality control would be stretched to the limit.

As a leader you must constantly be paying attention to this dynamic. Think of it like a lever resting on a fulcrum. One end of the lever represents quality control, the other end represents growth. As leader, you must decide where to slide the fulcrum; is it towards quality control (sacrificing growth) or is it towards growth (limiting quality control)?

Knowing which way to move that leadership fulcrum is more art than science, but here are a few guidelines:

Move the fulcrum towards QUALITY CONTROL when:

  • You are dealing with a new or start-up ministry
  • You are re-booting a stalled or dysfunctional program
  • You have a new or unproven leader in place

Move the fulcrum towards GROWTH when:

  • You have a strong leadership culture in place
  • A rare opportunity presents itself
  • The risks associated with over-expansion are manageable

Remember, these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules.

The important thing is to develop a leadership instinct for when to move the fulcrum, and how far to move it.

And simply understanding this dynamic is the first step in developing this instinct.

How do you manage the tension between growth and quality control?


the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *