Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Why Being a Smart Leader Is Not Enough

Why Being a Smart Leader Is Not Enough

Being smart is only half the equation in a successful organization. Yet it somehow occupies almost all the time, energy, and attention of most leaders. The other half of the equation, the one that is largely neglected, is about being healthy [clear].

– Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage

In this second post on Lencioni’s book, I will continue to use the term “clear” alongside of the big idea of “organizational health.” Read the first post.

In The Advantage, you will find the following chart:

Lencioni comments:

Whenever I list the qualities for leaders, I usually get one of the following reactions, and sometimes both. Often, they laugh quietly, in a nervous, almost guilty kind of way. Or they barely sigh, like parents do when they hear about a family where the kids do what they’re told the first time they’re asked. In either case, it’s as though they’re thinking, ‘Wouldn’t that be nice?’ or, ‘Can you imagine?’

None of the leaders – even the most cynical ones – deny that their organizations would be transformed if they could achieve the characteristics of a healthy organization. Yet they almost always gravitate to the left side of the chart above, retreating to the safe, measurable “smart” side of the equation.


Because it’s relatively safe and predictable, which most leaders prefer. That’s how they’ve been trained, and that’s where they’re comfortable.

It takes discipline to move beyond the safe and predictable into the sometimes awkward and messy area of organizational health [clarity].

Look at the list on the healthy [clear] side again.

Which attribute does your ministry need right now?

What one action step can you take today to address the challenge?

In the next post, we will look at the four disciplines that Lencioni unpacks in the book. And guess what? Three of the four disciplines have to do with clarity!

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Will Mancini emerged from the trenches of local church leadership to found Auxano, a first-of-kind consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. As a “clarity evangelist,” Will has served as vision architect for hundreds of churches across the country, including such notable pastors as Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado. Will holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary and has authored Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement; he also co-authored Building Leaders with Aubrey Malphurs.