Your Vision is the Problem

I am bombarded with talk about vision. Both on a macro level and filtering down to the level of individual technical directors and tech teams, we can’t seem to get enough vision — What’s your vision for your team? Where’s your vision statement?

This is a problem. Here’s my case.

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The NO Conundrum

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”
Tony Blair

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”
Steve Jobs

Like everyone else, I have found it easier to say yes—and avoid the relationship turmoil—than to say no (At least, if you care about the person). Consistently making these hard calls is the make or break leadership lesson we all face.

But I also recognize that our culture values the leader who doesn’t take no for an answer.
There is definitely a tension between being a leader who says no, and being a leader who accepts no. Culturally, we embrace one and reject the other.
When the vision is clear, we say no to anything that dilutes our focus.
When the vision is clear, we work any angle we can to avoid a no that stands in the way of our goal.
Accepting no is viewed as weak and quitting.
Saying no is viewed as strong and focused.

Just this past week, I had to walk through two situations where I had to tell people no. Their responses illustrate this tension very well. And though this tension may be real, I wonder if we have thought through the consequences of our actions.

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Leadership—Are You Doing it Wrong?

Perhaps in times past it was enough to give people a place to work, provide job description parameters, and some system of accountability to make sure they were getting things done.

I believe those days are over.

And it’s our own fault.

We have taught people that God has a plan for their lives. We have encouraged people to pursue their passions. We have discipled people to believe that their talents matter to the Kingdom of God.

If we do not then follow through and assist people in finding and living out those passions, they get frustrated. Disappointed.

What we are saying does not match the systems we have set up.

My friend C. describes the goal of where we all want to get to as convergence– the place of effortless fruitfulness of living in the fullness of all God created you to beIt’s about rowing downstream (who you are created to be) with God’s current (your Kingdom assignment)
It is Joseph flourishing in the palace having been shaped by the journey to get there—both in development of skill and in ironing out his sinful rough edges.

All this leadership talk we have as a church keeps us so focused on explaining and maximizing the vision, we have forgotten the true calling of a leader—to lead others to convergence.

My friend B. says that where your gifting and talent intersect with the needs you see around you, that is your God-given assignment. Her goal is to help people discover that and then help them discover the courage to live it out.

But those ideas are not my main thought. Though they support it.
As church leaders, we need to stop seeing our jobs as placing people into the right slots of our organization so that we can fulfill our vision and start seeing our jobs as releasing people into their right slot in the Kingdom even while they are still working for us!

I’m going to swing the hammer 11 times. Hopefully, I’ll hit the nail at least once.

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Wherefore art thou, World Vision?

On March 24, World Vision President, Richard Stearns announced in a Christianity Today article that World Vision would be hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages.
On March 26, Christianity Today posted, World Visions Reverses decisions to Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages.

Wow. Two days. To say the interwebs blew up would put it mildly. Here comes some generalizations:
Many conservatives saw the first decision as further proof that the world is headed to hell in a hand basket.
Many progressives, while supporting the initial decision, were frustrated with conservatives reaction and continued hate speech.

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