In his post Who will say go?, Seth Godin describes three different kinds of people:
Here’s a little-spoken truth learned via crowdsourcing:
Most people don’t believe they are capable of initiative.
Initiating a project, a blog, a wikipedia article, a family journey. Initiating something even when you’re not putatively in charge.
At the same time, almost all people believe they are capable of editing, giving feedback or merely criticizing.
So finding people to fix your typos is easy.
A few people are vandals, happy to anonymously attack or add graffiti or useless noise.
He then describes that most edits to Wikipedia articles are small, most of the tweets written are reactions not fresh initiatives. Very few people are initiators. Most are copyeditors. Why is this? He continues:
I have a controversial belief about this: I don’t think the problem has much to do with the innate ability to initiate. I think it has to do with believing that it’s possible and acceptable for you to do it. We’ve only had these doors open wide for a decade or so, and most people have been brainwashed into believing that their job is to copyedit the world, not to design it.
His discussion is focused on business projects and getting new ventures started. The same concepts apply in churches and the ministry world. If you want to start a new program, overhaul something that is not working well, change direction, or just stop doing the same-old same-old so that you can take the same energy and change the world, then there will be lots of people around who can fine tune your plans after you develop them.
Copyeditors are valuable, both in Seth’s word picture and in daily life. If you want to change the world though, you need to gather some initiators.
The question is how do we motivate people to get the initiative to help design the project to turn the world upside down.
Which are you — initiator or copyeditor? Which do you want to be? You can become an initiator.
Oh, if you have any of them in your organization, perhaps you need to persuade the vandals to bless some other ministry.
P.S. I guess in responding to Mr. Godin’s post I am a copyeditor. Oops.
On the other hand, I am making my reply on my 6 month young blog instead of a tweet, exposing his comment to the ministry world, and trying to figure out how to apply it to my life. Guess that makes me an initiator. Whew!
P.P.S. His post looks like the front end of what will be lots of posts on his new book. Since my copy of that book is en route to my office, you will likely hear more about the topic.