5 Disruptive Leadership Lessons Learned from “The Shack”

The book and now the movie “The Shack” is disrupting the Christian church with a paradigm shift many didn’t expect.  As leaders of business, entrepreneurs or human resources,  we don’t often discuss religion but there are five critical lessons for our organizations in what is happening with this movie.  Let me explain.

The ShackWilliam Paul Young, wrote a book for his children that went viral, selling over 20 million copies and now released as a major motion picture that grossed over 42 million in the first three weeks.

Young believes the book and movie have tapped into a reformation in the works.  He believes there is a fundamental shift in our world, a disruption if you will, that is changing how we relate to each other.  But he is clear, this is not a revival because a revival is infusing new life into old organizations, processes and institutions.  A reformation is righting a wrong, putting an end to wrong thinking, practices and policies to build a better world.

Interestingly enough, that is what Martin Luther did 500 years agoLuther-posting-95-theses-560x366 2 when he nailed those 95 Thesis to the door of the church.  He disrupted the religious and political world by voicing complaints in a public manner against the leaders of agruably the most powerful organization on earth, the Catholic Church. In the end, Luther helped usher in the reforormation that launched prodestantism while transforming the organized church and even western civilization.

But there is another irony that was strategically planned, releasing the movie to coincide with lent and Easter, when followers celebrate the disruption in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  So it is intriguing that “The Shack” is ruffling some feathers by revisiting their vision and mission.  Like Luther, Young is challenging the practices that do not foster the goodness of God amidst pain, suffering and healing.   In a followup book, “Lies We Believe About God” he is more direct, challenging the lies we have been taught like “God loves us but doesn’t like us,” “God is a Christian”   and “Hell is separation from God.”  Like Luther, many adrent followers claim heresy and call for a boycott of his books and movie.

So what is the lesson for disruptive leaders?

First, Stay Vigilant:  Organizations go Off Mission.

It happens in almost all organizations, often after the disruptive leader is gone. Small changes are made, often with the best intent, but over time, it takes the organization on a different trajectory.  Therefore, disruptions are needed to keep the organization valuable.

Has your organization strayed from it’s mission?  If so you can expect a disruption in the near future.  

Second, People are Hungry for Integrity

Young, Luther and Christ all tapped into something incredibly important – people want connection with authentic leaders.  Raving fans are created when their needs are meet with compassion, not legalism, corruption or eliteness.

Who is hungering for your authenticity and integrity?  If you connect with compassion, they will become raving fans.  


Thrid, There will Always be Resistance to Disruption

As humans, we are creatures of comfort and we resist disruption to what we find most comfortable.  Yet, if we do not disrupt ourselves, someone else will do it for us.  As leaders, we need to be constantly forging ahead, looking for the opportunities on the cutting edge, no matter who or how much they resist.

Are you strategically planning for the resistance to your disruption?  Knowing it is coming will help you plan for it without forfeiting the vision.


Fourth, the Biggest Threat to You may come from Your Most Loyal Customers & Colleagues

Seek to disrupt your organization with the very best intent and you will likely find fierce opponents in your own organiztion. Try to fundamentally change your best product and service and your raving fans will revile you.  But sometimes it must be done.  That is the delicate and savvy part of successful disruption.

How can you disrupt without alienating your biggest fans and closest colleagues? 


Fifth, Great Things Happen When You Tell an Authentic Story

William Paul Young just wrote a book for his children.  He didn’t intend for it to go viral, but it did because he was authentic.  He dared to delve deep and be honest.  He didn’t preach but simply shared.  That is when it went viral.

Are you ready and willing to share your story?  You might be surprised with what happens when you do.

Be B.O.L.D.

Be Decisive

Become the Disruptive Leader

I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I work with aspiring and emerging leaders to become disruptive leaders, doing the impossible by changing the paradigm of their thinking and telling powerful stories.  If that is your desire, contact me today.

Checkout my online leadership platform. Power University

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