Institutions matter. They give us an opportunity to have an influence for the common good that far outlasts us. But we often assume that institutions are at cross-purposes with dynamic communities, with personal vocational calling, and with core human values. We view them somewhat cynically as, perhaps, a necessary evil.
Institutions, far from that, remain essential to human flourishing. They are the very means by which communities thrive, individual vocations are fulfilled, and society is changed for the good. As a result, we all need to learn how to work effectively within institutions.
That is just what Gordon Smith provides. He unpacks the core of institutional intelligence—the wisdom of working effectively within an organization. At the same time, he shows how team leaders, directors, executives, board members, key stakeholders, and employees can avoid what is often their greatest source of stress on the job—working with the institutional character of their organizations.
Focusing on the non-profit sector, Smith unlocks the essential elements of how institutions function in a productive, healthy manner. Church staff, educators, and those in service agencies can all thrive by understanding these dynamics instead of fighting against them. By developing this essential vocational capacity, we and those around us can not only fulfill ourselves but also a mission that is larger than we are.