I think people and organizations have similar causes of death.

For those of you that do not know me personally, I spend three days a week (at least) at my church, serving as youth pastor, and four days a week (at most) working at a hospital as a morgue attendant. Exciting stuff, right?

Well, this experience that literally forces me to work with death for the past three years makes me see things a little differently. For instance, when I see a patient, I can generally tell you “how long” they have. Now, is this a good thing? Do I relish in this idea? No. I hate it. But it is what it is. Now, sometimes I am wrong. But more often, I’m right. And in this post, I’m going to inform you of some things that often cause death in people, businesses, relationships and even ministries.

First thing, that I believe causes death in businesses, relationships and ministries, is the inability for the organism to breathe. You cut off someone’s air supply and they will not last long. Same thing with a ministry. If those that work for you and with you don’t have the opportunity to breathe some new air or to get out and have some new experiences, they will die or have to be put on life support. Now, as leaders, we do not want those we lead to have to be put on life support (us doing all the work for them). We want those we lead to be healthy, productive members of society. That means that sometimes you have to give them an opportunity to fail. Giving them an opportunity to fail is also giving them a chance to breathe. If you do not give those you lead some opportunity to do more than you expect, they will learn to resent you and quit trying or leave your organization. Trust me. Give those you lead an opportunity to surprise you. Give them a job that you think is a little over their expertise level. They just might surprise you. And even if not, they got a chance to breathe some fresh air.

The second thing that I know kills people and I believe kills organizations, relationships and ministries is blood clots. Now, blood is something that is vital to an organism, right? It’s what transports oxygen and necessary nutrients to your necessary organs. Stick with me here. The blood of your organization is your people. Without them, you would not get anything done. But when it turns bad is when cliques form. You’re saying, “Cliques? We’re not in high school!” And I’m saying, “Cliques happen in business and churches just as much as they do high school.” When big groups of people get together and start excluding others, you have clots. Clots can slow down blood flow, or if the problem gets big enough, cut it off altogether. And just like in the human body, in an organization, the closer the clot is to the heart, the more damage it causes.

I’ve been through obvious causes to death. Now let’s take a look at some others. Everyone has heard of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), but it is only one of many different types of Auto-Immune Disease. An Auto-Immune disease is when a body starts attacking itself. These can happen when you don’t have the right filters to make sure all parts of the body are getting adequately nutrition. A lot of Auto-Immune diseases are inherited or occur naturally. There is nothing you can do to prevent or treat them in people. But in organizations, there is something you can do-Take out the source. In an organization, you’re going to have people who are in it, who are not of it. You’re going to have people that you hired and trust who do not have your best interests in mind. And, just like a cancer cell, they are either going to find others like them or infect others. Either way, the problem is going to grow until you have one large part of a body attacking the other for resources. And the only way to treat a situation like this after it has gotten big is to cut it out. In medicine, we use radiation, if the problem is localized, but if the problem is widespread, you have to use chemo-therapy which can be extremely detrimental, even to the good cells. So, what’s the only good solution for auto-immune in a business? Early detection and treatment.

We talked about three fatal situations this morning. Now, you have the right to ask me how to stop these three things from happening. My only answer is regular check ups. Communicate with those in your organization on a regular basis. What’s a regular basis? That has to be determined by your risk factors. But, trust me, if you leave your body to its own devices and do not have regular check ups, you’re going to get sick. When you do, I hope it’s not too late to save your organization (organism).

Much love,