A Healthy CEO
In many ways the direction and the effectiveness of the Baptist General Convention of Texas will be determined by the critical selection of who our next chief executive officer will be. Dr. Wade led our convention during a trying time of transition and change. He was saddled with the responsibility of leading us during a “war time” chapter marked by our churches making decisions about the role of fundamentalism in our future.
It seems apparent to all the BGCT has said “NO” to fundamentalism with a capital “F”, but is made up of a vast majority of churches that would be what Dr. Russell Dilday might call “constructive conservatives”. These churches and people still have ties with the Southern Baptist Convention to differing levels while continuing their support of the mission and institutions of the BGCT.
What kind of leader will be able to keep the BGCT free from the crippling effects of political maneuverings on either extreme and mobilize the vast “middle” of our convention toward a common compelling vision?
From my perspective our new CEO needs to be a “constructive conservative”. He needs to be able to embrace the realities of the new BGCT with a deep appreciation of our history, our distinctiveness, and our diversity, while keeping us focused on our future together.
As a CEO our new leader needs to bring to this mammoth task key leadership qualities that will help us move forward together. I believe he must be a visionary, healthy, servant leader. He must be willing to lead us to embrace the change necessary for us to claim our place in the future as a key player in the advance of the Kingdom.
Peter Senge and Peter Drucker have studied leadership and change from the perspective of large organizations and corporations. I have found a few of their thoughts quite insightful. Drucker notes of change leaders that they know a leader “cannot manage change. One can only be ahead of it” (Drucker, Management for the 21st Century). Change is a constant part of our reality, so as our next CEO understands it and embraces it, he will be able to help us chart a future in the midst of change. A visionary leader “looks for change, knows how to find the right changes, and knows how to make them effective both outside the organization and inside” (Drucker, Management for the 21st Century.
Peter Senge in The Dance of Change notes that change leaders understand why “sustaining significant change can be so elusive”. He suggests these leaders think more like “biologists” than managers. These wise leaders realize that it is crazy to implore a plant to grow by saying “Grow! Try Harder! You can do it!” So they focus their time and energy on understanding and addressing the “limiting processes that can slow and arrest change.”
What kind of CEO do we need? We need a leader who is comfortable and skilled at embracing change and leading a complex organization that functions more like an organism.
 Peter Senge, The Dance of Change, Doubleday: New York, 1999, 8.