Organizational Consulting: Emily Provance

I’ve spent time working with faith communities large and small — everything from individual congregations to international institutions.  Since I’m a bit of a systems analysis junkie, I use organizational principles to examine how groups are interacting and functioning with the ultimate aim of helping those involved grow more fully into who they feel called to be.

To offer a sense of perspective, here’s a collection of my writings on the culture of Quakerism.  Most of these pieces have to do with institutions, including local meetings — the structural, formal ways in which Friends interact — and how Quakers might approach them differently.

Eight Changes Your Meeting Can Make Right Now is a direct response to the viral article by Thom Rainer entitled Eight Signs Your Church May Be Closing Soon.  I believe in naming the places where we’re falling short, but stopping there is both unhelpful and unfaithful.  We have the ability to change things.

Following up on that, How Do We Articulate the Difference Between the Ideal and Where We Are? is a piece on why we often don’t recognize where we’re falling short and how we might be more able to see this.  Other writings about cultural stumbling blocks include A Conversation About Delay, Addicted to Crisis, and The Madlib Society.

I spend a lot of time talking about spiritual gifts within the Religious Society of Friends.  Are We Open to New Light from Wherever It May Come? talks about engaging with giftedness that we don’t understand.  A deeper dive into one specific gift comes in Reclaiming Leadership as a Spiritual Gift.  I take a deeper dive into spiritual gifts and covenant community in …and Covenant, and you can find a set of downloadable PDFs to use with your congregation or group on this page.

Four pieces that connect thematically, though they weren’t intended as a series, include What We’ve Learned, Permission to Experiment, Building for Growth, and On Building Learning Networks, all of which present ways in which groups might better stretch themselves, grow together, and learn from their experiences.

Finally, Navigating Differences and Transitions are two pieces based on a cultural theory framework published in the Harvard Business Review by Boris Groysberg, Jeremiah Lee, Jesse Price, and J. Yo-Jud Cheng.  I’ve found the authors’ original work (which is summarized within my reflections on it) really helpful as I examine organizational culture in new ways.