Great inspiration comes to those that listen to genius. Great minds challenge one to think deeper about the problem in front of them. One of those geniuses is Clayton Christensen. Not only is he a Harvard Business Professor and famous author he is also a Latter-day Saint and former Area Seventy. I enjoy listening to him solve business and leadership problems because it makes me wonder if his answers would be similar if asked to solve similar LDS leadership problems.

Clay Christensen and James Quigley (also LDS and a former bishop) were interviewed by The Economist about leadership, corporate culture, and disruptive innovation. I imagine a conversation about innovating home teaching would garner similar answers.

Let’s see what we can learn…

As an Elder’s Quorum President or a Relief Society President have you ever had a new idea for solving a problem that should be implemented? Maybe it is regarding how home teaching is organized, or maybe it is regarding your quorum meeting format. Your new idea feels so profound you can’t wait to share it with the quorum. When you do share the idea, you see some initial excitement and buy-in, but over a few weeks you see no lasting effects take hold. In reality, what you are trying to do with a new idea is change quorum culture—the way success happens. Clay Christensen knows why this is usually difficult…

The Economist asks: What really changes culture in order to allow business to adapt to new innovation?

What Leading Saints would ask: What really changes culture in order to allow quorums to adapt to new home teaching innovation?

Listen to his answer here:

It’s not that leaders have bad ideas about home teaching, but rather they don’t frame the problem effectively in order for everyone to understand it completely. Your job is to give them a language to frame the problem and then they will be in step with you as a leader.

So how is this done?…..How can you effectively change culture in your quorum so that everyone buys-in and executes your idea in a way that will create success (as you have seen it)

The Economist asks (directed at Jim Quigley): What do you think works in changing culture in this way?

What Leading Saints would ask: What do you think works in changing culture in an Elder’s Quorum?


Being the benevolent dictator is difficult. Imagine you have an innovative approach to improving home teaching. Everyone in the group agrees it would be effective but then your meeting ends and the discipline it takes to execute the solution is lacking. The value of the innovative solution is never reached. At this point, many make the mistake of trying to think of a new innovative solution to fix the problem when their real problem is driving the idea “deep into the fabric of your enterprise.”

In this next clip Clay Christensen teaches us a great principle about home teaching.

The Economist asks: How can a manager kill a project that isn’t going to work in order to be more effective as a company?

What Leading Saints would ask: How can a leader make sure home teaching will be more effective?

In his example think of the customer as the home teaching family.

When trying to improve home teaching do you default to the data? Or do you look at the problems.

To create change in home teaching you need to identify the problems people have and how they can be fixed.

This is great insight! You don’t need to understand the home teaching family, you need to understand the needs and concerns in their life to more effectively home teach. The need of the laid off father finding a job is more important than simply making a monthly visit. The home visit many times is classified as the “need” when in reality what they need is a short 10 minute visit so they can get back to enjoying the evening with their children. When approaching home teaching this way the “probability that you will be successful isn’t 100% but it sure isn’t a crapshoot.”

What further thoughts can we apply to LDS leadership from these clips?

To see the full-length interview watch below:

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