The Big Responsibility of Big Results

Leaders are visionaries.  They think big, dream big and plan big.  But sometimes the “big” doesn’t happen the way they envision.  So they experience a “big” disappointment.

I don’t want to imply that big is bad, hey I don’t want to follow a leader that doesn’t think big.  But one of the sides of big we don’t think about very often is, big results come with big responsibility. And big responsibility must be stewarded by someone with big character and big competencies.

If a pastor prays that his church will grow to one thousand people then he better have the competency and character it requires to lead a church of level of complexity.  If an entrepreneur wants to expand his business from 1 to 5 franchises then he better have the character required to handle the added pressures and the competency to scale to that size.

Sometimes I think God doesn’t give us “bigger” results because we don’t have the character or competency yet to steward the bigger responsibility. Don’t get in too big a hurry to get to big. And make sure you’re focusing on growing yourself as much as you are growing your organization.

Making Vision Stick – Training Module

Do members of your team need to sharpen their vision casting skills?  Use the following module to engage in a dynamic discussion and watch development happen right in front of your eyes.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Give 2-4 members of your team a copy of this training module.  (Don’t ask more than 4 people.  The more people you include the less impact it will have on them individually.)
  2. Ask them to do each of the assignments before you meet back together as a group.
  3. When you meet together your role is to simply ask the questions provided and help them debrief what they are learning.  Use your experience to speak into their learning but only after you’ve drawn out their thoughts and learnings first.  During the discussion stay focused by continually referring back to the competency you’re trying to help them develop:  Communicate vision in way that it sticks with and is passed on by others

Competency:  Communicate vision in way that it sticks with and is passed on by others

Assignment #1

Read Passage 
Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

  • What is significant about the timing and location of Jesus meeting with the eleven disciples?
  • In three short sentences, Jesus gave what has become known as the Great Commission. What is the significance of each of these sentences?
  • Which of the sentences would’ve meant the most to you if you were one of the disciples standing there with Jesus at that time? Why?

Assignment #2

Listen to Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN)

Answer the following questions:

  • How would you grade yourself as a vision caster?  A-B-C-D or F?  Why?
  • What impressed you about Frank’s initial actions as new CEO of Home Depot?
  • How would it change the way you lead if you inverted the leadership pyramid of your organization or department?  Write out specific ways.
  • In what ways is your vision complex, non-portable and difficult to repeat?  What do you need to do to make it Simple, Portable and Repeatable?
  • Frank told several stories throughout the podcast, which one stood out to you the most?  Why?  What leadership principle did you take away from that story?  (Write out 2-3 specific principles)
  • Write down specific ways you are setting, living and celebrating the vision of your organization or department?

Assignment #3

Share a story with your team members that illustrates your vision.  Share it in a way that is simple, portable and repeatable.

  • What story did you share with your team?  Why did you share that particular story?
  • What outcome do you hope this story will have in their beliefs and behaviors?
  • What was their response?

Assignment #4

Work in a position you normally don’t serve in with your organization and write down observations of your experience.

  • What did I experience?
  • How did it impact my perspective on the overall vision?
  • How did it impact my perspective on those serving in that role?
  • What ideas did it generate for me?
  • How did others respond to seeing me serving in that role?

I hope you find this module helpful.  After you use it with your team let me know how it went.

Resisting Vision Envy

As a church planter, I was constantly seeking to learn from those who had gone ahead of me. But as I listened to these seasoned planters I often found myself filled with “Vision Envy.” Do you know what I mean? You listen to another visionary, and suddenly your vision seems too small, too insignificant or too bland. That’s when we’re tempted to “borrow” part of their vision, or add elements to our vision that God never intended us to include. While it’s a great practice to listen to and learn from other visionaries, we must be aware of the traps of Vision Envy.

Trap #1 – You miss the unique vision God has called you to accomplish in your community. In my friend Will Mancini’s book Church Unique, he provides an exercise you can use with your team to identify the unique calling of your church. He calls this your Kingdom Concept. Your Kingdom Concept consists of Your Local Predicament, Collective Potential, and Apostolic Esprit. These three things working together help you answer the question: What will our church do better than 10,000 others? When you can answer that you are well on your way to discovering God’s unique vision for your church.

Trap #2 – You’re overcome with a sense of inferiority. My friend, Chip Judd says, “Comparison is the root of all inferiority.” Comparing your vision with the vision of another planter will not lead to a healthy perspective. But if you learn transferable principles from their vision its a win.

I was meeting with a visionary leader recently and was blown away by the size of his vision. Immediately “vision envy” crept into my soul, but once I recognized it, I was able to celebrate his vision and learn from his visioning ability. Listening to him lead me to ask myself a new set of questions, challenged me to think deeper about the measures of my vision and refine the way I share my vision.

Trap #3- You stop looking to God as the source of vision. Rather than spending time in solitude seeking the heart of God, we surf the Internet in an attempt to scheme up a bigger and better vision. There is no greater vision than the one God speaks directly into your heart, no matter how big or how small.

It’s a valuable practice to listen to the vision of other church planters. Just make sure you don’t fall to the traps of Vision Envy. There’s nothing more powerful than being given a vision straight from the heart of God. Moses spent hours in the Tent of Meeting face to face with God. This discipline gave him the fortitude to endure the times when the vision of the Promise Land seemed insurmountable. Nehemiah, wept, prayed and fasted as God formulated a vision for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. His time with God generated passion that others saw and longed to follow. Paul had a personal encounter with Christ that not only gave him a vision but put a fire in his soul to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Vision envy will produce a pseudo vision you can chase. But it will not give you the conviction and passion that comes from a personal vision encounter with God.

Don’t Leave Out These Essential Elements of a Vision Cast

Getting an opportunity to cast a God-given vision is a weighty privilege. Having spent time with God, you’ve heard the heart of God and are called to lead toward a preferred future for your church, organization or community.  Before you even speak your first word your audience’s mind is like a canvas. The words you speak can paint a picture of a new reality, move people to action, enthuse commitment and even drive them to make personal sacrifice for the cause.  Continue reading “Don’t Leave Out These Essential Elements of a Vision Cast”

Clarify Your Vision By Asking the Right Questions

I was walking along the beach in Carlsbad the other day praying about God’s Vision for LAUNCH.  As I asked God to open the eyes of my mind to see His vision I sensed Him saying, “Ask the right questions and I will show you the answers.”

This makes sense; think about it.  In Exodus 3 when God gave His vision for delivering the Hebrew people from Egypt Moses immediately began to ask questions.  And the more he asked the more clarity God gave him. This reminds me that vision is not a one-time communication from God, but an on-going conversation with God. Here is the list of questions that flooded into my mind that morning on the beach.  I spent a couple of hours the next day on the plane thinking these through and gained amazing clarity as I prayed, processed and captured the answers.  I hope they help you refine your vision as well.

  • What Scriptures are central to our mission and how do they inform or inspire our vision?
  • If we were able to maximize our mission to the fullest potential what would the outcome look like?
  • What opportunities do we have to innovate new ideas, products or processes?
  • What is the unique niche God has given us in our industry? What do we need to do to steward that well?
  • In what way does the giftedness of the key individuals in our organization inform us about God’s future for us?
  • What outcomes do we want to see over the next 12 months?  Three years?  Five years?
  • In what ways will our “product” change over the next three years? Are there new products we will produce over the next three years?
  • What are the biggest opportunities in front of us that we need to seize?
  • What are the “hidden” assets that are within our reach that we are not capitalizing on?
  • Who do I need to meet with in the next 90 days?  In what way can they add value to my thinking or add value to our vision?
  • How will our industry be changing over the next 5 years and what adjustments do we need to be thinking about now?
  • What are the top 3 most important things we can do in the next 90 days that will impact our bottom line over the next 12 months?
  • What do we want to be said about our organization 20 years from now?  What footprint do we want to leave on our industry?

What questions would you add?

Do Great Things

Ideas have the power to change an organization, change a life and change the world.

  • Think about a song that’s moved your heart closer to God.
  • Think about a resource that helped you achieve greater results.
  • Think about a book that shaped your values and character.
  • Think about a church that’s transformed your life.

All of us have encountered things that have significantly changed the course of our life.  But think about it…those things that changed us, added value to, challenged, or shaped us… didn’t always exist.  There was a point in time when someone, somewhere had a thought…an idea.  In that moment God touched their mind with inspiration and they said to themselves, “What if?”  And then a God inspired idea was born.

Often in those moments a battle takes place in our mind.  Right on the heels of inspiration comes the temptation to doubt the ideas legitimacy.  Our minds race with thoughts like, “This is crazy”, “I can’t do this”, “what will other people think” or “this is impossible.” But don’t forget sometimes great ideas require great risk and great sacrifice.

Somewhere in your heart there’s a passion, a gifting, a calling to do something great.  Don’t ignore it because the world needs more great songs, great books, great resources and great churches.

We follow a great God, so attempt great things.