You Have a Vision. Now Get Clarity on the Path.

“What’s the best way to get there?”

I don’t know. Where’s there? You might think.

In leadership, you have to have a destination in mind. You need a vision. If you are going to help others, you have to get clarity on where we would like them to be.

However, once you have clarity on the vision, you can find clarity on the path. When you know where you want to go, you can begin to plan how to get there. That’s the second part of the leadership process.

A friend of mine was concerned about the direction of the youth in her town. Her own family had been touched by the scourge of drugs, and she had known many of her kids’ friends who had experienced the same problems. But she also believed that things could be different.

So, what could she do? She had a vision of kids having hope that would lead them away from drugs and other destructive behavior, but she had to think about the means. How would she help them get from where they were to where they could and should be. She discovered the story of Joseph Rojas, the lead singer of the Christian rock band Seventh Day Slumber. Rojas had been deep into drugs but had found hope in Christ that led him out of the deep hole he was in. Continue reading “You Have a Vision. Now Get Clarity on the Path.”

Leading from Vision Rather Than Reaction

Leadership by Reaction
And now, Geometry. That was the new subject in my friend’s sixth grade class. His teacher, Mrs. Smith, walked slowly through the class. She stopped behind my friend and asked a geometry question, “What do you call two points on a line?”

Like myself and many of you, he responded, “I don’t know.”

Whack!!! Mrs. Smith took the paddle that she carried around with her and whacked him in the head with it.

Now did he know? Of course not. All he knew at that point was that he did not like Geometry or Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Smith’s method of leadership is ludicrous, but that’s often how we try to lead. People aren’t doing what we want them to and then, whack! We respond in a way that demands people change immediately. We react by by attacking, withdrawing, or complaining. It is leadership by reaction.

When we lead by reaction, our leadership helps people move forward with about as much efficacy as Mrs. Smith’s whack on the back of the head moved my friend to new knowledge. It’s good to want people to be in a better place, but leadership by reaction is often not based on thought or reality.

Everybody has people or communities that they want to see in a better place. The trouble is that so often we pursue it by simply reacting.

Is there a better way? Absolutely there is.

The Alternative: Leadership from Vision
It’s called leadership from vision. It begins with a vision of where people could and should be. This type of leader then chooses the path that will be the best route to help people get where they need to be. Then, the leader helps people walk that path through teaching, examples, steps, and encouragement.

Take the story of Mike Lanza. Lanza remembered kids playing outside together when he was young, and he thought this was a better place for kids to be than what he saw around him. Like many of us, he was concerned about the amount of time kids spent in front of screens. Continue reading “Leading from Vision Rather Than Reaction”