Institutional Intelligence: the capacity to work effectively within organizations. It involves understanding how institutions work and knowing how best to foster the capacity of the institution to fulfil its organizational purpose.
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Many people take a pessimistic view of institutions as inherently corrupt and self-serving, and they decry institutional life as a form of soul-sucking drudgery. But for Gordon T. Smith, president of Ambrose University and Seminary in Canada, serving an institution can be an important avenue of spiritual formation. In his book, Institutional Intelligence: How to Build an Effective Organization, Smith makes the case for administrative work as a meaningful vocation. Tod Bolsinger, vice president and chief of leadership formation at Fuller Theological Seminary, spoke with Smith about the role of institutions in advancing the church’s mission.
This interview is about why institutions matter and contains a good conversation about power; why it is important to understand power as a non-zero-sum game. And then, how accountability and transparency allow for healthy power dynamics within an institution.