September 25, 2007 Featured Article


Microsoft Management Secrets

by Ken Johnson

Ken Johnson, President & CEO
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I recently read an information piece about Microsoft and some of the things they had done to grow their company into a world leader in computers. I took their ideas and compared them to what I think the church is doing or should be doing to make itself a world leader in spreading The Word of Jesus the Christ and winning people for Christ. See what you think.

The bolded portions are what the Microsoft company has done to grow into the world leader in computers and the portions in italics are my thoughts.

  1. Hire the Best People. We, the church, so often hire someone because they say that they are a Christian and not because they are the best person for the job. We also do the same thing in other parts of the church. Do we always provide worship of EXCELLENCE or do we say  “well this is for God so anything will do” and leave it up to God to make it “look good?”

  2. Bet the Company's Future On Big Opportunities. Big opportunities? Does your church believe that God wants you to grow? If not—why not? That’s His Commandment isn’t it? And that is a big opportunity.

  3. Expect People To fail and Learn from Their Mistakes. This is a perpetual problem in the church and also in our schools—we can’t allow anyone to fail because their feelings may get hurt. The best thing that can happen to people in our churches is to occasionally fail and with the support of the rest of the church they can be successful. I believe that that’s what God wants us to do.

  4. Insure that Managers Can Do the Work of the People That Report To Them. This is not so they can do their jobs but so they can help and guide them if they are in need of guidance. If they are not in need of guidance then get out of the way and let them do their job.

  5. Evaluate People Only On Their Recent Performance. How many times do you see someone in your church judging someone on what they did ten years ago? We just can’t let someone make a mistake and learn from it and move on. We have to keep reminding them of that mistake. The church is that one place where we should be allowed to make mistakes and be forgiven.

  6. Spend Money Frugally. This is the tough one. So many times “Frugally” means to church people “save the money for a rainy day” and that’s not what should happen. The rainy day comes, but the church is dead because they didn’t practice good stewardship. So they closed the doors of the church, but they still have $500,000.00 left in the Foundation. Not good stewardship.

  7. Manage A Large Company Like A Collection of Small, Independent Companies. Small groups, small groups, small groups. They are the lifeblood of the church—how many do you have? Make sure that they aren’t just social clubs though.

  8. Know What Is Actually Going On In the Company. Make sure you have good checks and balances in place. I’m not talking about hovering over everyone to make sure that they are doing their job right but just having eyes in the back of your head as well as in the front so you see what is happening. Make sure that you are communicating well with all factions of the church.

  9. Establish an "esprit de cour" (a spirit of cooperation) to motivate People To Superior Performance. This is so important in your staff as well as throughout the congregation. Find ways to make this happen God expects EXCELLENCE from each of us, not just okay.

  10. Never Make Your Employees Put Up with Stupid Rules. This is the personification of the church. I remember the rules of my church as I was growing up: you can’t dance, you can’t go to movies, you can’t wear makeup, you can’t bring food into the sanctuary, and you know all of the rest. What rules do you have at your churches that don’t make sense?

  11. Create an Office Atmosphere That's Like a Home Away from Home. This can sometimes get carried a little too far in the church, but finding ways to make people comfortable is vitally important.

  12. Focus On Total World Domination. This should be the number one rule of every Christian Church. That is exactly what God expects of us “To go into the entire world and make disciples of everyone.” Is that not correct?

In Creating an Office Atmosphere That's Like a Home Away from Home, Microsoft does the following:

  • Microsoft believes employees will not be as productive if their working environment is uncomfortable. The employee owns his own office and is allowed to decorate it as he or she desires. All employees order furniture and supplies from the same catalog. All offices have a window, and all offices are the same size, except for the very few top engineers and Bill Gates & Paul Allen. How about your church, are your pastor and staff areas clean, neat and comfortable? The same question should be asked about other areas in the church. Is the overall church including the outside yard and parking lot as well as the inside clean, neat and welcoming to potential guests?

  • There is no dress code at Microsoft. Dress can be relaxed as being barefoot, or as dressed-up as one desires. What about your church. Do you have stringent dress codes? Maybe not even codes, but do you expect your pastor and staff to dress a certain way? Does every member of the church have their own idea about what the code should be; consequently, no one knows what the dress code is?

  • The company provides free soft drinks, coffee, bottled water, etc. Just as one would have drinks supplied to them if they were at their own home. I know of churches that fight at budget time about whether the church should buy coffee for the staff—do you do that?
  • There are no set work hours at the office for employees...and employees tend to put in more time because they only are judged by the work they accomplish -- not by the hours they work. Hours are not tracked by the company. This is something that the 21st century church needs to work on. Last century the members of the church and the boards felt like it was their job to make sure that the pastor and the staff was doing their jobs so they found ways to spy on them. That was sad and there were many pastors who left the pastorate because of that one thing. As a matter of information I can tell you that 95% of the pastors and staff members spend far more than 40 hours a week working for you, the church—get off of their backs—let them do their jobs.

If you would like to see where I got the original information you can click on the following URL or cut and paste in your web browser if you need to. 



© 2007, Ken Johnson, President and CEO of The Ken Johnson Group, LLC, Church Consultants. To contact Ken, or for permission to reprint this article, send an e-mail to: ken@thekenjohnsongroup.com


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