Joshua Gagnon

thoughts on Jesus, leadership, and the Church.

Ep 160: Why Organizations Slow Down Pt 2

Welcome to the 160th episode of the Joshua Gagnon Leadership Podcast!

If you enjoy listening to this podcast and it has helped you and your team in any way, please leave us a review on Apple Podcast or Stitcher or take the time to share it on social media.

Do you have a question for Pastor Josh about leadership, ministry, or any other topic we’ve covered on the podcast so far? Submit your questions to or @joshgagnon on Twitter and Pastor Josh might answer it on a future episode!

You and your team are invited to join us in Spring 2019 for our new Joshua Gagnon Leadership Coaching Network! Visit to learn more and to sign up!

You can read the full transcription of this episode below.

Hello this is Joshua Gagnon, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. Man, I am so honored by what God is doing through this podcast. We meet people all across the country who listen to the podcast and I never would have imagined. You know, sometimes I say that and I kind of imagined it. You know there are things in life I am blown away by, kind of, but I kind of expected it. This podcast is one of those things that i just never, ever, ever expected it. And even as much just a year into it, it was doing wonderful, but not phenomenal. And over the last six months, it has just literally blow up to tens of thousands of unique listeners every single month. So thank you so much for listening and hanging out. It is my desperate prayer that God would use this podcast to bless you in some way every single week. I have the honor of hosting a coaching network that we are doing. It’s the first time we have done one, I have fought against doing one for a long time, but I do feel like we can add a lot of value to many people in ministry. So if you are a senior leader, and you listen to this podcast, or if you are a senior leader and you don’t listen to the podcast, I would love to hang out with you for a few months. We are going to invite some of our executive team members, Carey Nieuwhof is going to join us for a week. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I believe God is going to use it in great ways. So you can go to and you can learn all the information there. It would be an honor to hang out, we’re going to be innovative. It’s not going to be a typical coaching network, it’s going to be as authentic as it possibly can be. And I hope that we all, including myself, leave the conversations just feeling better. We’re going to grow together, learn together, love one another, and we’ll see where God takes it. And so, I’d love you to check that out, and if not, I still love you and I hope you enjoy today’s episode.

Joshua Gagnon: Well thank you so much for tuning in to the Roman Archer Leadership Podcast. We are excited to have you with us.

Roman Archer: Our listeners just dropped in half.

J: Like, wait a minute, I didn’t click that...What are you talking… This is the Joshua Gagnon Leadership Podcast, hosted, ran, and directed by Roman A. Archer, which, you have it right folks, he is a comic book hero. How’d you get your name?

R: Roman Gabriel. My parents named me.

J: What do you mean, what?

R: Roman Gabriel. He was a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams at the time.

J: He did good things, didn’t he? You’re the only one who still knows who he is.

R: Well, of course, I’m his namesake. Roman Gabriel, if you’re listening to this podcast, thank you. I don’t even know if he’s still alive. He played for the Los Angeles Rams, I guess he was decent. I don’t know if he won a Super Bowl or nothing like that.

J: But I don’t understand, your dad doesn’t even like football.

R: No, he likes football. But he liked the name and so the name just kind of stuck with him. I don’t know how big of a fan of him specifically, this was what I was told by my dad anyway, is that there was a football player, his name was Roman Gabriel. I Googled him one time and he had posters back in the day. So he had to have been somewhat decent.

J: I want to get posters made of you

R: You should.

J: Put it on my ceiling.

R: You should. Who are you named after?

J: Oh, this guy, Joshua, that’s pretty much it. the Bible.

R: Kind of a big deal.

J: Kind of a friend of mine. Anyways, we are continuing, if you were with us in our last episode, where Yeski closed us out.

R: Yeski.

J: If you didn’t listen to the last episode, please go back and start there because we’re in the middle of a conversation where we’re talking, what are we talking about? Why organizations slow down.

R: And get stuck.

J: And get stuck.

R: And fall into a rut.

J: They turn fat, slow, and lazy. And they become afraid of making decisions and they lack character. And they lack confidence.

R: What we talked about last week. You do need to go back and listen to it.

J: Yeah, literally we’re not even going to go talk about what we talked about.

R: Cause if you can’t even listen to the last episode then you don’t deserve the podcast.

J: We’re going to just talk about the two left. Let’s not even go any further. Let’s literally start right now.

R: We’re starting right now. So, lack of competence.

J: Lack of competence is why organizations…

R: ...slow down and get stuck.

J: They don’t know what it is they need to do. They’ve grown to a place in the organization where they have become their own lid. Right? What once started as an organization that had a higher lid because of its leadership, they’ve maxed out their lid. I’d like to give a golf illustration here, if I could.

R: You absolutely can.

J: I play golf.

R: Yes.

J: You play golf.

R: Yeah.

J: I teach you golf.

R: Yep, that’s more accurate.

J: And I had a thought that you can walk into Dick’s Sporting Goods.

R: Yep, or even Walmart. KMart.

J: Yeah, they don’t exist anymore, I don’t think. You can walk into anywhere and you can get a set of clubs.

R: Yep.

J: And no matter what clubs you buy, right? No matter what the clubs are, you’re going to be able to use those clubs because they are advanced beyond your current ability.

R: This is my current golfing ability. You took me to go buy clubs, and the clubs I wanted were the blue ones, is what I said.

J: I said, “Roman, which ones do you want?” You said, “I think I want the blue ones more than the red ones. It’s just the box.” And I’m like, “What do you mean?” And so this is what we’re dealing with, people.

R: And so that’s my level, and they served me well.

J: Exactly, because your personal ability does not match the level of the golf club, right? That golf club is still a higher lid than your ability, right? You haven’t lidded it out.

R: Correct.

J: Now, when I buy golf clubs, I have to have them custom made.

R: Yeah. There’s a couple times you’ve used my club to show me something and my clubs limit you.

J: Yes. Alright, so I have to have the right loft, and on and on and on we can go. The right flex, and on and on we could go. Right? Because I am a solid golfer. Okay? So if I went to Walmart and bought your clubs, they would hold me back. Because my potential is beyond what it is they can offer me.

R: Their capacity, yep.

J: Right? However my AP3s that I’ve had, they - Titleist - they are advanced enough to where I can play with them and they are advanced enough where my ability fits within what they offer. I hope I’m making sense. Many organizations have leaders who have become the lid of the organization. And the organization isn’t going to be able to go further until they grow. They are the golf clubs that are holding back the potential of the organization. And the only way the organization is ever going to hit the ball further is if they raise their potential. Right? Or unfortunately the other alternative is we have to bring new people in that have higher potential. And so that’s just something that I’ve been thinking a lot through when it comes to those two scenarios of golf clubs, and we want to make sure that we become leaders that are chasing after competence. We become leaders who are making phone calls to people who are further out. We’re leaders who are listening to podcasts, good job. We’re leaders who are going to conferences. I think conferences are going to die, the way we know them. I do, I think the big conferences are going to be a thing of the old.

R: I think they’re less of learning and more of the…

J: Inspiration.

R: ...inspiration and I think avenues such as podcasts have opened up more opportunities for people to grow, but we get stuck when we have that lack of competence. Something that I want to brag on you for just a second.

J: Come on.

R: We were talking this week with some of our leaders, and…

J: Brag on me.

R: And I was sharing one of the qualities that you have that I’ve seen you grow in over the last ten years is this spirit of curiosity. That you’re a learner. But not just in a few things, in everything.

J: I could deliver a baby.

R: Yes, that’s not a joke, you could probably… You are more, when I was having my kids… I wasn’t having them, that’s going to get me in trouble. When my wife was having my kids you were more knowledgeable than our doctor. You told me what was going on, you kept me…

J: Because every step along the entire way when Malachi was being born and Nehemiah was being born, I asked a hundred questions every single time, just in everything.

R: Just to learn. And I think A, that’s one of the reasons why…

J: I mentioned last podcast I just signed a two book deal with Thomas Nelson, and my agent Alex, we’ve laughed along the whole way because I guarantee he has never had someone ask more questions than I asked in the process. But I keep telling him, I won’t ask one question next time, but I will know everything about this process, and he laughs all the time because that’s just how.. I won’t ask any more questions because I will literally master the art of how to move forward in this process. And so, yeah.

R: Yeah, and I think A, that’s one of the reasons why you’re good with stories and illustrations because you learn a culture, or you learn the context of something and you’re able to then take the principles and apply it in your context and in your world, but the bigger idea beyond that is I think as kids, as we grow, we’re constantly asking the question, “Why? Why? Why?” We’re seeking to learn and understand and somewhere along the way, we learn that we need to already have the answers and if we ask why, we’re letting people know that we don’t have the answers. And so we stop asking why, we stop learning, and our competency in an area slows down.

J: We have to work at our craft. I love when I hear athletes say that. I’m working at my craft, I’m working at my craft, I’m working at my craft. The truth is is we have to work at our craft. We have to continue to figure out musicians, continuing to figure out new rifts, we have to work at our craft. We have to get better, get better, get better. What would you say to a musician who stopped practicing? You’d say, “What in the world are you doing? You’re going to get passed.” What would you say to an athlete? “You’re going to get passed.” What would you say to a lawyer who stopped learning the new laws that are coming out? You’re not going to be relevant. What would you say to a doctor who doesn’t understand the new equipment that’s coming out that’s helping people live longer? Or surgeries … you’d say, “You gotta keep up.” What would you say to your financial investor who isn’t learning any tax laws? Or your accountant who’s not learning… You would say, “You gotta keep up.” What do you say to the church? We just say, “Read the Bible.” Woah, woah, woah. The Bible hasn’t changed, alright? So, yes, know the Word of God, of course. But it’s not like the tax laws. It’s not going to chance. You know the Word of God, now what do you do? You keep allowing the Word of God to settle into your heart, however now you need to go learn practices and principles in relevant ways to reach the culture today. Right? Systems and structures that help reach today’s culture. And we could go on and on, and that’s what our listeners who do in some… I’m definitely proud of who we’re going to right now and I feel like it’s almost teaching to the choir, cause they are curious.

R: Yeah. I think an uncomfortable truth, but it’s a truth.

J: But let me just cut you off one second.

R: Go for it.

J: Make sure those on your team are curious as well. So don’t just be the only curious person, whoever’s listening to this, on your team. Push it throughout the organization, even if you’re not the high-level leader or the senior leader, push it throughout that organization. Send this podcast out to everybody on your team or another podcast, I could care less if you send this one, but my point is don’t just be the only curious one on your team, curiosity should be running wild throughout your team. The curiosity to learn, the curiosity to get better.

R: Yep. I think an uncomfortable truth, and just to play it out in the world of either sports or even music.

J: Do music, because I feel like we do sports too much.

R: Okay, so playing the guitar, for instance. I’ve heard this analogy, that if I want to get better at the guitar, I don’t practice the same chords that I already know. I have to learn something new. That’s how I’m actually going to get better, more competent at my craft. A lot of people think, “Well if I just keep doing what I know I’m doing, that that’s going to get me better.” So as a communicator, for example, I don’t grow teaching the same message every week. I grow as a communicator by getting in different environments, on different stages, in front of different people, it gets me out of my comfort zone and I grow in my competency in that area. And so it’s this idea that... I think we fool ourselves sometimes if we think we’re getting better at something just because we’ve mastered one aspect of it and we can do that one aspect.

J: Yeah, I don’t allow you to go up with the notes you used to go up with.

R: Nope, it’s this constant changing and growing.

J: Now you’re going up with no notes.

R: You’re getting me there. But I would say to our listeners who’s the last church or the last industry leader that you’ve reached out to to learn from? That you’ve actively sought phone call with them.

J: It doesn't have to be a church. Me and Larry Osborne a couple weeks ago with a few other guys, we went to a gentleman who runs all of the...boy, I don’t want to get this wrong. Do you remember what it was?

R: I think so, but I don’t even know if you want to mention it.

J: Okay, yeah, I don’t want to mention it.

R: I would say an industry leader, a billion-dollar industry and he was leading it.

J: Yeah, we went to hang out with him for several hours and he runs this thing you would know of. And we just talked and learned and it was wonderful, but yeah, it’s not just learning from church world. That’s half of our problem, actually. Is we all learn from the same people. It’s like a bunch of cones running around Get outside the walls and go learn from other people who can add value to what it is we do as a church.

R: Exactly. So we get stuck when we have lack of character, lack of confidence, lack of competence,...

J: And lastly…

R: Lastly, lack of…

J: Something you don’t like at all.

R: You don’t think so?

J: Charisma!

R: A people-gatherer.

J: Give me the definition of charisma.

R: This is beautiful, we had asked Siri the day that we were talking about this.

J: She’s so smart.

R: This is what Siri told us. Siri is a girl on my phone.

J: Does your wife know about this?

R: She’s a girl. I left her as a girl.

J: Does your wife know you’re having a lady you talk to on your phone?

R: Yes.

J: Okay.

R: Siri told me that charisma means compelling attractiveness or a charm that inspires devotion in others.

J: Say it again. Wow.

R: It’s a charm that inspires devotion...that’s a big word… in others.

J: So you got, while we stay still we don’t have character. Because character is the greatest accountability a human could ever live to.

R: Yep.

J: We lack confidence. We don’t want to make mistakes, yet mistakes are life’s greatest teachers. We lack competence, we become the lid. We need to become a golf club that can hit the ball further. And then we lack this thing called “charisma”, that’s why we stay slow. And charisma is the charm that inspires devotion in others. Your organization, what it is your leading, is going to slow down if it has a leader that can’t get people revved up.

R: Yeah, cast vision.

J: If you can’t cast vision, if you can’t inspire movement, the organization is going to slow down because it has leaders that lack charisma.

R: Yeah. People perish for lack of vision. And I think there are a lot of leaders that are going around that are trying to inspire tomorrow’s accomplishments on yesterday’s memories. And they have no ability to gather people to push them forward to cast vision.

J: You just did a one-liner! You always say you can’t do those things!

R: I don’t even remember what it was now, though, can we rewind it back? Can I say it again?

J: Good job. Say it again, seriously.

R: I genuinely don’t remember what it was. We’re trying to inspire people on yesterday’s memories.

J: Man, if you want an organization that is going to push forward and not slow down, you have to have leaders that have charisma and the ability to charge up leaders in the organization that feel tired, that feel worn out, that haven’t seen the fruit they hope for. You have to inspire people to believe, to move, to dream, to charge, to dig, to believe that only God can send the rain, but they can dig a ditch. If you can’t inspire people under you to move quick, don’t be surprised when the organization stays slow. Charisma. Character. Competence. Confidence. We have to be living within those worlds in order to not slow down as an organization. I hope this… I’m tired. I’m done. Just so you know. If you have anything else to say you can but I don’t want to say anything else.

R: No, I hope this conversation helped you. Again, this is a two-parter so you have to go back to number one if you haven’t already.

J: Let’s do one where they ask questions.

R: That’s coming up. You’ve been tweeting out about it.

J: I have? I haven’t tweeted in years. I don’t have Instagram, I don’t tweet.

R: No, that’s not true. I can always tell when you tweet.

J: I haven’t tweeted.

R: Oh, you haven’t?

J: I haven’t tweeted in legitimately months. They all tweet for me.

R: Maybe it’s been a while. Yeah. But back in the day I could always tell when it was the people on the team here that do it or when you do it.

J: I don’t do any of that stuff. My publisher’s like, we gotta work at getting on this platform and I just never really promoted myself to do well.

R: Yeah, well, I mean you don’t have to. God can do that.

J: God can promote you in one day to a place that takes men a lifetime to get.

R: Exactly.

J: One-liner. Hey, on a serious note, listeners, thank you so much, you are a blessing to my heart. You really are. I’m so blown away that so many people would listen to this podcast and I do pray and ask God that something that is said in each episode would inspire, trigger, do something in your heart, and if we could be of any help at Next Level Church, that’s why we exist. We’re all one church. So we exist for that reason. Until next week, America.

R: Lead fast.