Leading Change
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Modular Work

modular cubeThe ministry leaders that can become comfortable working modularly will see tremendous fruit and exponential opportunities to lead.

Chris Brogan recently commented on this reality in his post The Future of Work:

“Many of us will start using “project” as the unit of measurement of work. Meaning, a job won’t be a job any more, but a collection of projects, sometimes with the same employer and sometimes not. We will all work a bit more like Hollywood’s film industry, gathering the right team for the right project, and having more than one “picture” in the works at all time. This will require a lot more self-organizing and a lot more self-discipline, but people who define work around the unit of “project” instead of the unit of “job” will definitely have a better chance of succeeding.”

New media platforms make it increasingly easier to find and maintain working relationships with people in different parts of the country/world. Since many of these connections will be much more personal than corporate relationships, I believe organizations that partner with informal networks like these will thrive.

There is a steep learning curve for working modularly. Skype-ing often times fails. Urgency and accountability can wane at times. But those small amounts of time that I use to spend checking Facebook or responding to “important” email I can now spend working on a niche project with a group of like-minded people from around the world.

Have you leveraged modular work yet? Any cool projects you have in the works?



  1. I would have to say that our continued interaction in part plays this out. I have also been working with a ministry in Turkey, helping them sort through some options of handling responses from 1000’s of people.

    Haven’t actually started paying the bills with this approach though. Part of that is scale, part of that comes down to understanding how exactly God made me to know in which direction to head.

    • definitely! it’s been so developmental for me to interact w you in brief spurts. i’ve seriously learned so much!

      i haven’t seen it pay the bills directly, but i love how projects add credibility to the content that is created on a blog. i can talk about empowerment all day long here but working on projects with people i’ve connected w here that focus or have empowerment in them is another layer.

      sure beats mindlessly staring at the TV!

  2. GREAT post Brian. This is very motivating to me.
    I remember reading the Changing Evangelism report last summer and thinking “We need more working projects like this within CCC.”

    One of the guys, Roy Baker, who worked on that project had this to say:
    “I need assignments such as this to help me grow. One of the reasons I wanted to do the Changing Evangelism Project is because I don’t own my own development as much as I should. Being a part of something like this provides me with accountability and exciting challenges that spur me towards growth.”

    In Dan Pink’s great video on employee motivation he talks about how projects like Wikipedia, Linux, etc were done by people working:
    – In their spare time
    – For free (as volunteers – no profit motive)
    – For something they believe has a purpose and is improving their skills

    Why can’t we have 100 working groups always ongoing in CCC (not top-down assignments, but creating a culture where staff are encouraged (especially with their summers) to innovate)

    A proposal on how it could work:
    – Make it totally voluntary
    – Make it specific (like the Changing Evangelism project)
    – Use summers to start projects and work on them. And then let the relationships/projects carry over throughout the year.
    – Have applications/proposals that staff have to fill out to get a project/summer approved

    The net result for CCC will be more focused local-level driven innovation
    Side benefit for staff – they grow and are engaged (which, in turn, benefits the mission as we have more passionate staff)

    • dude let’s get this going! summer projects are so great to kickstart these types of projects for staff, since many times they meet new staff who have similar passions but different ministry contexts.

      i think short-term is the key–ongoing working groups (at least for me) ended up being more of a drain than a motivator. short-term also has more built-in accountability to actually do something.

      perhaps this year’s blogference can spin a couple of these out!

  3. I find I thrive being able to be a part of lots of different small teams.

    One project I am working on right now is a global dashboard of
    information for our movement, allowing leaders to make better decisions
    based on information from our enterprise systems.

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