105 soldiers were participating in a 15 week commander training program in Israel. A psychologist informed the training officers who would be leading the program that they had assembled comprehensive information about each of the soldiers. Each soldier had been classified into one of 3 potential “Command Potential” categories: 1.) High Potential, 2.) Regular Potential, or 3.) Unknown – due to insufficient information. The soldiers were placed into these categories through a series of psychological tests, sociometric data from the previous course, and previous officer ratings. The training officers were requested to learn the names of each soldier who would be in his command and his “CP” rating before the program started. When the program began, the soldiers were divided into groups with even numbers of high, regular, and unknown CP soldiers.
After the 15 week program ended, the officers confirmed that those soldiers who were placed in the highest “CP” category were in fact the ones who had performed the best.
Here’s the catch. The “CP” (command potential) ratings were not actually assigned based upon any data at all. They were actually selected at random.
Those soldiers who were seen as having high potential ultimately lived up to the expectations of their commanding officers. When the officers were told about the random selections, they argued with the psychologists and defended their position – they truly believed that there must have been actual data used to reach those conclusions.
I wonder how many of the “regular CP” or “unknown CP” soldiers actually had a lot of potential too? I wonder what effect lower expectations have upon someone?
PS – This example was also from the book “Sway” by Ori and Rom Brafman. If you like this kind of stuff, you should check it out.
In my Biblical Leadership Studies at CBS, I discovered quite a few types of enemy soldiers in the church. Here’s a list:
Aggressors – Always on the march for their own ideas. They push their viewpoint, regardless of merit. They win by wearing others down. Battle cry: “The best defense is a good offense!”
Attackers – are against everything. They attack others’ ideas fiercely and sometimes attack the people themselves – always looking for a fight. Battle cry: “They may win, but we’ll make ’em pay!”
Commander – needs to be in control and call the shots. They think the church will die without their control. They think they should be consulted on all decisions. Battle cry: “I’m in charge here at the church!”
Snipers – operate from hiding places. They hide behind others or talk behind your back, sending explosive missiles to destroy your credibility or reputation. Battle cry: “Watch your back, Jack.”
Smart Bombs – are perfectionists who are always right. Their way is the only correct way. No other approach is rational, biblical, or spiritual and anyone who disagrees is seen as an obstacle to be removed by any means necessary. Battle cry: “I’m right! You’ll see!”
Stealth Bombers – try to destroy you because they disagree with you. They lob hand grenades at you when you least expect it. They also like anonymous letters. Battle cry: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for I’m the meanest man in the valley.”
Psy-Warriors – win by spreading misinformation. They are experts at “spin” and know how to make lies sound believable. They can even make witnesses wonder what they really saw. Battle cry: “There are lots of others who feel this way!”
Strategists – are power players who are skilled at getting their way. They exploit weaknesses and manipulate to build a power base or gain votes. Battle cry: “My ends justify any means!”
Self-Inflicted Wounded – are always hurting. They are easily offended so that they can control others without having to be responsible for any constructive involvement. They like the attention too. Battle cry: “No pain, no gain.”
Not only have I witnessed each of these enemies throughout my years of ministry, but I must admit that I have probably played each of these roles at one time or another. I’m praying that I can learn to deal with church politics in much more healthy ways though. When conflict comes, I’ve gotta remember the biblical standards found in Matthew 18:15-17. I’ll also be better prepared if I’ll wear the armor God has provided. (Ephesians 6:10-18)