Global Health Leadership & Management

“•Change agents. To survive and succeed, every organisation will have to turn itself into a change agent. The most effective way to manage change successfully is to create it. But experience has shown that grafting innovation on to a traditional enterprise does not work. The enterprise has to become a change agent. This requires the organised abandonment of things that have been shown to be unsuccessful, and the organised and continuous improvement of every product, service and process within the enterprise (which the Japanese call kaizen). It requires the exploitation of successes, especially unexpected and unplanned-for ones, and it requires systematic innovation. The point of becoming a change agent is that it changes the mindset of the entire organisation. Instead of seeing change as a threat, its people will come to consider it as an opportunity.”
(Peter Drucker, “The way ahead,”
The Economist, 11/1/01)

These comments by business guru Peter Drucker are remarkable on their face. When writing a series about what he called the “Next Society” in The Economist 5 years ago, the aging Drucker (now deceased) detailed how organizations need to become agents of change for the world of the future.

Which organizations? In which context? And for what purpose?

The answers are amazing:

1) The Change Agent organization is the global Church!

2) The context of this Change Agent organization is the global health “crisis,” specifically HIV/AIDS according to Rick Warren (see last week’s Herescope posts).

3) The purpose of this Change Agent is to create a “healthy global society,” however that is defined.

The church must become an Agent of Change by leveraging health care issues in an international context. How does the Church do this? There is a significant clue in the legacy of Peter Drucker, the business management guru

The Drucker remarks about an organization becoming an Agent of Change (cited above) are elaborated upon by Frances Hesselbein in a 2005 book entitled Global Health Leadership and Management by William H. Foege (Editor), Nils M.P. Daulaire (Editor), Robert E. Black (Editor), Clarence E. Pearson (Editor), and David Rockefeller (Foreword by). Ms. Hesselbein is the current chairman of Drucker’s Leader to Leader Institute, which she co-founded with Bob Buford of the Leadership Network. As we have noted previously, the Leadership Network has been at the forefront of the leadership training in the evangelical world, especially active in the formation of the purpose-driven and emerging church movements.

It is therefore significant that, in the context of global health care reform, Hesselbein authored Chapter 10 of Global Health Leadership and Management entitled “Leadership and Management for Improving Global Health.” First, we must take note of her introductory remarks, which shed considerable light on Rick Warren’s Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan and tackling the HIV/AIDS “giant” crisis. Note the overlapping language, symbolism, and agendas:

“Today we share a dream that lies before us: healthy children everywhere, healthy families, healthy communities – a healthy global society where equal access to health care is the norm, not the exception.

“Still, it is only a vision, a dream. Community health care professionals and the leaders of health care agencies, groups, hospitals, universities, and organizations are called to mobilize around a powerful vision of the future: equal access to primary health for all of our people, in our own country and in countries all over the world. The goal of healthy children everywhere remains a dream until leaders at every level of every organization, agency, hospital and university working to improve global health care to serve all of our people mobilize.

“We are fellow travelers on a long journey toward an uncertain future where the challenges will be exceeded only by the opportunities to lead, to innovate, to advocate, to change lives, and to shape and redefine the future. Wide disparities, limited resources, and tenuous times form the context of our response, the background for this essential battle. The journey calls for spirited, inspired leaders of change. As we move into a tenuous future, our mission, the star we steer by, will be our greatest protector; the values we live by, our greatest security; and innovation – the indispensable, common imperative for leaders of change – will chart the way in a world forever changed, a world at war.” [emphases added]

Second, in this context of envisioning global health care reform, Hesselbein specifically cites Peter Drucker’s quotation about the organization becoming an Agent of Change:

“In a seminal article in the November 3-9, 2001, issue of The Economist, Peter Drucker’s wisdom spreads across twenty incredible pages. One observation he makes is most relevant to our global health challenge: Seeing the organization as a change agent. We are used to hearing that you and I must be change agents. But as Drucker writes, ‘To survive and succeed every organization will have to turn itself into a change agent. The most effective way to manage change successfully is to create it. But experience has shown that grafting innovation onto a traditional enterprise does not work. The enterprise has to become a change agent. Instead of seeing change as a threat, its people will come to consider it as an opportunity’ (2001, p 19). Drucker delivers a powerful leadership imperative: making our global health organizations ‘change agents.’ This challenges us to exercise tough discipline in moving innovation across enterprise and getting our house in order as we hurdle into a tenuous future. In this crucible of massive societal change there is no time to negotiate with nostalgia.” [emphasis added]

In Peter Drucker’s organizational vision, the non-profit sector — i.e., the Church — would assume a key role in the three-legged stool to accomplish that which the State and the Corporation could not. It is clear that Rick Warren shares Drucker’s vision for the Church to fill this 3rd leg of the stool position for his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. As Rick Warren has recently stated:

“‘Government has a role – no doubt about that – but it’s highly overrated,’ Warren said. ‘Businesses and NGOs have a role. But the Church … is the missing leg of the stool, and we will never, never resolve this pandemic until the Church – and I mean local churches – is mobilized.” [emphasis added]

Drucker’s views about using the Church in this manner were explained in a Christianity Today article in 1999:

“Drucker never took seriously the possibility that government could provide community. He thought that the more we ask of government, the more frustrated we will feel. If government can’t do it, and business can’t do it, who can? Drucker shifted his hopes to nonprofit organizations. He doesn’t think it’s accidental that the nonprofit sector is growing rapidly, or that voluntarism has increased. They expand to meet a dramatically growing need for community. Drucker goes so far as to say, in his book Managing the Nonprofit Organization, ‘The non-profits are the American community.’ Nonprofits give disengaged workers a place to make a contribution through serving others. They draw rich and poor into a web of common concern.

Churches play a particularly critical role. ‘The community …needs a community center. … I’m not talking religion now, I’m talking society. There is no other institution in the American community that could be the center.’ Drucker gladly stresses the church’s spiritual mission, but he notes that churches also have a societal role. That’s what he meant when he told Forbes that pastoral megachurches are ‘surely the most important social phenomenon in American society in the last thirty years.’” [emphases added]

Compare Drucker’s philosophy of churches as the “center” of the community with Kay Warren’s statements in an interview pertaining to the Church meeting the Global HIV/AIDS crisis:

We believe the church has been the missing leg of a three-legged stool. Governments are doing things. Private sector businesses are doing things, trying to go after global giants, but the church has been absent. We have been trying to bring the church back to the table and say “It’s going to take all three.” The main reason is that the church has the widest distribution center. The church exists in places where there is nothing else. To utilize the distribution channels for care and compassion and teaching and training. It’s the way to go. It’s smart!” [emphases added]

Obviously this 3rd leg of Drucker’s stool is being seen as an Agent of Change. The question must therefore be raised: Is Rick Warren intending to use the global Church as an Agent of Change – to leverage health care reform across the world? This is a sober question with many ethical, moral and biblical issues attached.

Herescope will pause right here, to continue this discussion in more detail the rest of this week, Lord willing.…

The Truth:

“…why have you smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!” (Jeremiah 14:19b)