Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Leadership and Marketing: Are they the same?

Interact with me on this thought…

Marketers give people what they want. Leaders give people what they need. 

 I wonder if marketing is often confused for leading in a consumer-driven, populous society. In a couple days, I'll be attending the Willow Creek leadership Summit. I don't like this event but I go because my leadership team supports it and because I want to help them to interact with the different concepts that are shared their. I don't like it, because, in the end, I don't feel that the Summit trains leaders but marketers.

One speaker at this summit is a marketer named Seth Godin. I'm enjoy reading Seth Godin's books and his blog. I feel that Seth has a lot of excellent thoughts that should be considered by church leaders. However, recently, I haven't been so enthralled about what he has to say. My concern is that I have been drawn into the church leader as church marketer mentality. Godin constantly talks about getting people what they want.

What people want is often not what's good for them. I want a Rita's water ice right now. One was custard in it. But I don't need it. In fact it would be bad for me in the sense that I'm already overweight and I don't need the extra calories.

In many ways, the contemporary church is overweight. It's over program and most of these programs focus on giving people what they want, not good discipleship. Granted, the church, as a fully volunteer organization, must rely on people wanting to be a part of the organization. But maybe that's the problem right there; too many people are attracted to an organization before they are attracted to faith in Jesus Christ.

So am I right on this one? Is the job of a leader to give people what they want? Where is the job of the leader to give people what they need? Maybe it's a combination of both? What they want leads into what they need. But then I wonder, how do leaders know how to make turn from what they want to what they need so that the people are willing to move away from just the thing that they want. Is there any value in giving me a Rita's water ice but telling me what I really need is a well-balanced diet?