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EPISODE #110 – Processors and Leadership Judo

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EPISODE #110 - Processors and Leadership Judo

This week the guys continue their series in Leadership Judo through the VOPS leadership styles by Les McKeown in his book The Synergist

  • THE MIND OF A PROCESSOR (quotes are from ch. 4 of The Synergist)
  • Processors feel compelled to bring order to all they see. They’re easy to recognize not just in business, but in every walk of life—Processors color-code their wardrobes, arrange their books by subject, and know the replacement date for their water filters.”
  • “So, unlike the Operator—who’s first thought when faced with a task is ‘Let’s get started’—a Processor’s first through is ‘What system or process can I put in place to ensure that this task is performed consistently in the future?’”
  • “Allied to the Processor’s need for order is their aversion to risk. . . The processor’s risk-aversion often manifests itself as a resistance to change.”
  • For a processor, data is all important. More precise than experience, more accurate than judgment, data is the fundamental currency in which the Processor trades.”
  • “It is important for Processors that whatever they do, the do it right. . . While this is usually a good thing—bringing precision is why the Processor is there after all—on occasion Processors can be so preoccupied with ‘doing the thing right’ at the expense of ‘doing the right thing that they lose sight of the organization’s overall business needs.”
  • Processor Strengths
    • Consistency and repeatability
    • Scalability
    • Accuracy
    • Control
    • Clinical perspective
  • Processor Weaknesses
    • Invariable pace
    • Resistance to risk and change
    • Overanalysis
    • Default to no


  • Respect their principles
    • Be punctual – schedule in advance and show up on time and end at or before the scheduled end time
    • Be prepared – have data, know what you are talking about or asking
    • Be precise – don’t exaggerate or be ambiguous
      • Processors love the integrity of data and are easily frustrated with ambiguity or exaggeration. “Frequent use of broad sweeping statements will eventually, in the eyes of the processor, undermine the credibility of the people making those statements.”
  • Set precise goals (with deadlines)
    • Set realistic deadlines for new initiatives (V – 7x – O – 7x – P)
    • Be overly specific about what you want
    • Avoid informal chats as meetings
  • Be quick to listen
    • Many processors do not feel like they usually get a fair hearing of their perspective.
    • Don’t multitask – put your phone on silent and give them your undivided attention.
  • Show appreciation for their work and their perspective
    • Processors are often unsung heroes
      • And sometimes unnecessarily viewed as villains to Visionaries and Operators
  • Challenge constructively
    • Don’t challenge them with anecdotes – challenge with data
    • Ask clarifying questions about the data to gain a better understanding
    • Pushed into a corner to choose you, the org, or the data the Processor will choose the data
  • Build trust with them
    • Trust comes from credibility
    • Be consistent with your walk and talk


The Synergist by Les McKeown

Free leadership style quiz CLICK HERE

JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp and we are merely a weeks around the corner from the annual battle of the boot, the, the great grid arm grid, iron battle between LSU and Arkansas. And here’s the deal this year Kosho has nothing to lose.

Bob Bickford: No, because he’s leaving.

JimBo Stewart: Well, even with his $17 million buyout, what other industry can you get fired and take $17 million with you on your way out?

 I feel like a, a good financial game plan could just be, become a college coach and get fired.

Bob Bickford: I think, Yeah, that is a good game plan. Cause it’s a lot less stressful, you know, if you can be out half season, you know, but I think the way you choose to, facilitate your firing is very key. You, you want to do it and maintain your moral integrity, your biblical integrity. And [00:01:00] so, I guess just make some bad calls and coaching decisions and lose games.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, so, I mean, I’m going to start working on it and figuring out how to be a college football coach. Put my name in for LSU. you know, just, just roll with it and, you know, take a, take a buyout. I’ll take a, I’ll take a $2 million buyout. That’s it.

That’s all I need. and then I’m good from there.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. Um, I’m ready and prepared to bring the hog hat with me, when we have a scheduled time when we’re going to be in the same space, if I win this year, we you’ve got to have a picture with the hog cat since I had to wear the pajama top last year

JimBo Stewart: My goal is just to see you in that same,

JimBo Stewart: that same pajama shirt again, but, I’m willing to wear the hat if.

Bob Bickford: Well, woo pig suey. Let’s go Razorbacks. w let’s not let our football get in the way of our podcasting.

So we’ve got more important things to do than talk about Arkansas LSU.

JimBo Stewart: we did not come here to talk about college football. We have come here to continue our great series on leadership, judo with leaders. [00:02:00] Styles. So we’ve done visionary and operator, and we have now moved to processor V O P S from less McEwens the synergist and predictable success. And just using that as a framework to talk about the way that some people approach leadership and service and.

Thinking about things and really just that awareness. We talk a lot about self-awareness on this podcast and the importance of that. And so that self-awareness of understanding others leadership styles can bring great clarity in synchronicity to the team. but the, maybe the hardest place to do that is between the visionary and the processor.

And oftentimes the visionary is in the number one chair. as the lead pastor, not always, but oftentimes, and then somewhere in the organization, either the treasurer or the personnel committee chairperson or deacon chairperson, or something like that. A lot of times [00:03:00] you may have a strong processor.

And there is going to be some natural tension between these two, if they don’t figure out how to understand and respect each other’s perspectives and leadership styles, there could even be a little bit tension between the operator and the processor. when the operator feels like the processor has slowed processing, progress down too much for them.

And the processor will get frustrated with the operator when they don’t follow policies and procedures on a regular basis.

Bob Bickford: Yeah, the way I think about it. is the, the visionary is the, gas. The operator is like the steering wheel guy, dry steering site to.

some degree, and then the processors, like the emergency brake. Right. And so they may yank on that brake when things get going fast, or you kind of going on the sides a little bit, pull back on that brake.

JimBo Stewart: Or, or the processor may be, you know, did you ever have an old, go-cart or four Wheeler with a, with a governor on it?[00:04:00] the governor it limits how fast the engine will go, how much acceleration it’ll take. And so they kind of become that limit on how fast things can go.

Bob Bickford: That’s true. I always wanted to go.

cart Jimbo up. My dad never gave me a go-kart. So I’m kind of sad about that.

JimBo Stewart: you had a, you had a moped though.

Bob Bickford: The, I did, I had one.

JimBo Stewart: this can be, this can be particularly frustrating and church revitalization because we’re, we’re trying to make changes. We’re trying to gain momentum Processes are naturally a little hesitant about change in, in particular. and so I want to just talk a little bit at first, just about the mind of a processor, and then we’ll dive into, Kind of the, the judo principles we can understand about that.

one of the things we have to understand is the processors feel compelled to bring order. they want to see things done in an orderly fashion in a way that’s repeatable in a way that’s clear in a way that’s right. As a matter of fact, for processors, it’s so important that what they’re doing, they do it right.

That they can [00:05:00] actually get so focused on. Doing the thing, right. That they may miss doing the right thing. and if you followed me in, that makes sense, the idea there. And so they may very precisely and accurately complete something, but it may be not the right thing that needed to happen at that moment.

but they’ve been precise and accurate in it. They have a resistance to change because change is related to risk. and those kinds of things come together. the operator that we talked about last week, when we’re talking about ideas, they’re immediately saying, well, let’s, let’s get started.

As a matter of fact, when you have an operator at a planning meeting, one, they don’t want to be in that meeting in the first place, but as soon as they hear the big idea and the direction, they’ve probably already texted six people got the ball rolling on, on the project. Whereas the, processor is thinking not how do we get this started, but what does, what, what are the systems and processes need to be put in place right now to ensure that this task, this goal is, can be performed consistently [00:06:00] in the future.

and so some of the strengths that they bring to the table are consistency, accuracy, control, analysis, and those sorts of things. They have kind of an invariable pace. They’re going to go at the pace that they’re going to go, urgency doesn’t speed up the pace necessarily of a processor.

there’s a right pace to do it. And that’s the pace that they’re going to do. and sometimes they can struggle from a paralysis of analysis and in at least it seems to visionaries and operators, especially that there. First reaction, gut reaction to everything is no or not yet. and not, yes, let’s go do it.

 and this is where some of that tension comes in as well with the visionary and the operator.

Bob Bickford: I think one of the points we got to remember is if you have. A group that is sharing leadership responsibilities at your church. And you believe the scriptures that every person is part of the body and that leadership within the church is not just one person or a few persons, but it’s the plurality of leaders in conjunction with a bot the gifts of the body.

I think that’s important to [00:07:00] think about your committee members who seem to be. Like emergency breaks or committee guidelines or bylaw people, or, you know, those sorts of things. I think you have to realize that God has placed them in a position to put power, to protect you and to guide you and to help those of you who would run fast and sprint towards the decision out of passion.

God’s given them to you to help that vision mature and for a communication plan to. Right. And in some ways they’re there. Um, just the fact that they’re there asking questions will, cause I’ve seen this happen in a meeting will cause a visionary who processes out loud verbally to talk himself out of what he just suggested that everybody should do.

Right. So if a process or just ask questions, like just simple questions, right? Like how does this impact, what we’ve already approved? Is this a new budget initiative where we were going to, where would we find the resources to do this? Right? So those are good proactive questions that rather than saying, [00:08:00] no, we can’t do it.

It’s asking somebody to think in a detailed way that a processor’s just our division and they’d be able to think in details. And so I think mature visionaries and operators can see that person as a guest. From God, to the organization, to the church, to help them think about things that they don’t even think about.

And, and so before we, before we want to make sure that we call a meeting and don’t invite them. We need to probably consider that that God’s placed them there for a specific purpose and embrace that.

JimBo Stewart: we have to embrace that in order to understand that God has put them there, for a reason and for a role and. This is not a, Hey, well, you gonna tolerate this. This is a gift. This is a gift to the body of Christ that there, somebody thinking about this, that there’s somebody asking these questions and because they are not often.

In that lead top level role, with, as the, as the lead pastor. And sometimes they slow [00:09:00]processes down. It is so unfortunate that they can become, villainized or avoided by visionary and operator leaders, because they feel like they are just getting in the way when really what we’ve got to figure out is how, how do we work symbiotically?

How does this, how do we. No, our strengths and know our weaknesses, commit to that kingdom commitment. I’m going to put the good of the church, both local and global, over my own personal interest and desires and value the input, the thoughtfulness, the accuracy, the integrity of the processor.

part of that respecting that is respecting. What they do is very principled. Like there’s not an arbitrary part of a processor’s life, most likely. Right. So let’s make you and says, they’re easy to recognize, not just in the workplace, but in every walk of life, like they’ve color coded their wardrobes.

They’ve arranged their books by subject. They know the replacement date of their water filter. they remember [00:10:00] when the. Fire extinguisher inspection needs to happen. They know how much the copier lease is for and when the contract is up again and here’s the deal, we need somebody that knows those things and we need somebody that’s thinking through those.

and so I think we have to respect that that’s a great value, but, but also respect that they have principles. And so, here’s where we’re going to have a very different approach than when we talked about visionaries and operators with both visionaries and operators, we kind of said, Hey, casual.

meetings with a visionary, let them choose the venue and it’s going to be a coffee shop, or it’s going to be a cool restaurant or a random place. operators managers figure out where they are and go there and just walk with them while they’re working and talk. both of those approaches are horrible ideas to try with a processor.

Don’t do this with a processor, schedule a meeting ahead of time. when it works on their [00:11:00]schedule and show up on time, be punctual, be prepared, be precise. I’ve heard, I’ve heard before, B uh, what does it be? Brilliant. Be brief and be gone. and, but be punctual, be prepared. Be prepared.

Bob Bickford: I think it’s important. so just to talk about the fact that the processor leadership style and the visionary leadership style can really get sideways with each other. it can be over little things like you just mentioned, right? let’s say there’s a committee meeting at church.

The processors gotten there 20 minutes early, turned on the air conditioner, got the water’s printed off all of staff, the visionary, who might be the pastor. it stopped by his favorite coffee joint to pick up the coffee. for himself, probably not for everybody else saw somebody that he needed to talk to.

And then that person asked him about something and it sparked an idea in his head. And so then he probably. Just started. Shooting around the idea back and forth and the other person, if they were excited and a visionary, too, man, they just started, you know, it was like tennis, boom. Here we go. Completely forgets.

[00:12:00] The time shows up 10 minutes late to the meeting when all the other committee members are there and the processors already ticked. So, Yeah.

so then it’s the meeting where he wants to launch in the vision and he doesn’t realize that he’s ticked off the processor and the processor is ticked off at him.

So they’re going to ask a little bit, they’re going to ask her questions a little bit of heat on them, and then everybody’s going to walk away from that meeting. God, I did that. Not go real well and it’s over something little, right. I, you know, some of the younger pastors, I think, Or let’s say pastors who also have a level of low self-awareness.

They just don’t get that fact, that how they view life and how others view life is different. And it adds to the color that God’s placed in our, in our leadership teams and our committees. but it also can create chaos if we don’t respect one another and understand one another. And so a mature response from a vision.

Would be, to come in and if that happened, apologize and explain what happened[00:13:00] in a mature, response from, uh, a processor might be, you know, what our pastor is so visionary that he often just will get lost in his vision. And so we just kind of understand sometimes that happens, right. And grant grace on both sides.

So the judo move, if you’re dealing with a process or I think you’ve, you’ve highlighted some good things is man respect, respect. The way that they’re wired up and what they believe in their principles, but also just realize you’re going to have to, you’re really going to have to be S B S aware and sensitive to how you interact with them.

According to what we might call just common courtesy. In terms of like being where you’re supposed to be on time being prepared, having the documents ready, you know, communicating ahead of time, and coming in with an agenda. you know, we talked, this is what we’re going to talk about last time.

And here’s the agenda. Maybe that’s communicated ahead of time because you probably shouldn’t let a visionary set the agenda. He’s probably just ask them a cup for a couple of two or three items. They’re going to [00:14:00] scratch it out on a sticky note before they come in and they’re not going to email it to anybody.

There’s, you know, it’s going to be a disaster. man, I think you, you just really gotta be wise if you’re a visionary operator, how do you do with the processor? Right.

JimBo Stewart: Well, I think you’ve got to understand this is so important if you are, if you have a low processor, in you, or there are none and you’re high visionary high operator, would, or even synergy. What you may not realize is that preciseness and accuracy for a processor is about integrity and credibility.

And you will either gain or lose credibility based off of your, preciseness. And here’s what I mean, your preciseness in your punctuality, your preciseness in how you, how you say things. And so w when you’re in a meeting and the. The chair of the personnel committee is a high processor and you’re saying.

You’re defending your youth pastor and you’re saying, and our youth, our youth leaders. Great. And I think we need to figure out how to get them a raise. I mean, he’s had [00:15:00] dozens of salvation this year, and baptisms, and which, what you need to realize is, that processor probably knows exactly the number of baptisms that have happened.

And if. And so when you say dozens and it’s really been 15 and it has barely been more than one dozen, which would be amazing 15, but the issue is, is that you exaggerated it. The issue is that you, you blow the aided and you decided to for emphasis in a, in a visionary way to add a little bit to it, to make it sound better or whatever.

And it’s not that you are intending to intentionally be. Deceptive, but you have to know at least acknowledge that to the processor. It’s hard for them to understand that as anything other than a lack of integrity. And just knowing that, knowing that that’s the way they view things, just be mindful of ambiguity.

Be mindful of exaggeration. When we’re talking about [00:16:00] things, where there is a precise answer, then have precision to what you say. When you’re talking with a processor, when you’re talking with a visionary, there there’s no difference in their mind between the numbers 10 and 20. Those are, those are the same number, right?

And so a hundred and 125 people on Sunday morning is basically 150 ministerials ministerially speaking, right? And we can joke about that. but what we have to understand is that’s not a joke for PR for high high-level processors, that re that they really lose you, lose credibility in their mind whenever you are inaccurate and precise with those.

Bob Bickford: Yes. So when they express their concern, you got to hear them. And you got to ask specific questions, because sometimes you might not even remember what you said in terms of like the specifics, if you’re very super high visionary, you know, and, and then I think the, the benefit from that. If they’re the ones who are doing all the reporting [00:17:00] for the church and the accounting and you know, all the ACP numbers and all that kind of stuff, it would be a good idea just to thank them, man.

Hey, thank you so much. You, you really have a desire to, make sure that all of our reports are accurate and I’m just super grateful for that, that you’re you pay attention to that level of detail. and I think thank them for that because ultimately as pastor. and leaders, we don’t want to be inaccurate about our details.

And a lot of times it’s hard for us to managing the, the, all the things that we’re managing and then being a particular leadership style. It’s sometimes hard for us to, to really drill down and have a level accuracy. That is on par with a processor. So I think if we can do another judo moves to show an appreciation for how they see the world and then what they do in terms of keeping the data.

I know we have a, a colleague who’s a processor, and that’s one of the things that I say to him all the time he’s made, like, thank you so much for, for all your diligence on keeping the records and having accuracy and. And that goes in, not just numbers, but [00:18:00] that also goes into emails and conversations and contact forms and you know, all of that kind of stuff.

Cause I can just ask, Hey, man, do we, I remember this conversation, do you remember it or do you, do you have that email and boom, like if, if they’re on their game, they can produce that, which really is super helpful to us. And so I think affirming that, in celebrating that they they’re able to produce those kinds of things is really helpful and it makes them feel that.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I mean, it show that value publicly as well. you know, when you guys have w and your church have accomplished some great things, it’s easy to give the visionary and operator some public accolades, because what they’ve done has been more upfront, uh, or even on the platform itself. But recognizing not only in your own mind and heart, but also outside, you know, saying it out loud in front of others, Hey, we couldn’t have accomplished this without this processors help without them, you know, with, and when they present the budget at the, at your annual meeting for a vote or whatever, just be mindful of the fact that took like a [00:19:00] lot of work.

And so don’t when they make, when, like when they finished their presentation, the worst thing you can do is just go, okay, thanks. And then move on. Or, just start challenging. Hardcore with anecdotes, right? Like, uh, or over spiritualize, your challenges. I think we have, I think sometimes we want to over spiritualize our challenge to data when they’re presenting data to us and they say something like, Hey, I’ve been running the numbers.

And 75% of our first-time guests. Do not return. And so I think we need to figure out why that is. and here’s some of the, what the data indicates and you, you fire back with some over spiritualized answer or anecdotal response of, well, I mean, the Jones was just joined last week. what you’ve done is you just completely dismissed the data mining that they’ve done, the work that they put together.

And when they say 75%, it means 75%.

It doesn’t mean. 70% or 80%. And, and so hearing that, valuing it, and then asking clarifying [00:20:00] questions about the data in showing that appreciation, valuing the work that they put in to whatever it is that they bring to the table, as they’re talking with you. and I think another judo movement is figuring out where, where that’s needed.

if they’re a high processor, don’t ask them to do a high visionary role that they’re not gonna, they’re not going to get joy out of it.

and figuring out what, where is it that they are going to get joy in serving the Lord in the way that God has uniquely gifted them in the body and knowing if they’re a part of the body of Christ that God has given you.

And so if these four 16. When each part plays its role properly, the church builds itself up in love. And this is, this is one of those roles that’s needed and we need to make sure that we’re valuing it.

Bob Bickford: Yeah, I think one of the final judo moves to mention is you really need to work on your relationship with the processor and build trust with them. And if you build trust with them, By valuing them [00:21:00] by making sure that what you say is, is accurate and has integrity. And if you’re consistent with them in terms of how you treat them and respect them and communicate with them, you’re probably building a solid relationship with somebody.

Who’s going to really go to the map for you, for your entire time that you’re there with the church. And here’s the, what I also know most of the. Whether they understand how that person is wired up or not. They trust them a lot. Like in a, in a traditional church that’s been in declined. Usually the person who’s kept the books, kept the data. Yeah,

Made sure that everybody’s operating by the policies over overseeing the building and make sure that the, you know, the fire extinguishers are updated in the fire inspections. Okay. And all those kinds of things, that person carries a lot of weight and has a lot of trust within the congregation. So if you get sideways with them, man, you’re probably going to be in trouble for awhile.

Right. And, but if they’re the, if they’re the person that’s on your side and on your. And if, if [00:22:00]they are the ones who can say, you know what, I, that’s a big vision and it’s amazing. And, the only way that’s going to happen is if God comes through, but I believe in it right then you’ve you got one of the key persons in your congregation.

Who’s going to help you lead that church forward because they trust you. And most of everybody trusts the processors among the church.

JimBo Stewart: absolutely. So happy national, love your processors on your team day. I hope that you, live that out well, and. Go give them a gift and maybe your gift to them is leave them alone for a little while to let them get their work done. but, and don’t, and don’t interrupt them with your stories. you know, so we’ll come back next week with synergist.

In the meantime, we would love to hear from you what are questions? You have ways that we could serve you, in the process as we continue to be boots on the ground with you.

judo, leadership, leadership judo, Les McKeown, processor, synergist

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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