II. Leadership insures the future.
If leaders of the organization buy into the vision set in front of them, they will be the mechanism to manage the opportunity for growth and success.
Leaders provide the character, determination, and skill to build an environment of symbolic convergence. Character is the qualities stamped upon a person’s heart. The greatest assets thereof are humility (knowing who you are enough to compare your utmost and greatest against all competitors, God included, and thereby seeing the greatness of your smallness) and integrity (the quality of being whole, intact, undivided, unimpaired, or sound. Without character, the team will find unity and accountability difficult. No one would take responsibility for shortcomings. Skill is talent refined by the fire of practice and experience in real time. The greatest assets of skill are capability (the ability to perform a task) and talent (natural aptitude or shaped intelligence). Without skill the team will find it difficult to perform tasks on time and as directed. No one would be able to trust his/her teammates because of an inability to know the condition of the final product. Remember, practice makes permanent and consistency breeds excellence. Without skill, a team cannot proficiently, efficiently, and effectively provide a consistently excellent final product. Determination is the ability and process of terminating deterrence with extreme prejudice. The greatest assets of determination are authority (self-governing ability) and responsibility (the ability to appropriately act with courage and self-possession). Without determination opportunities become obstacles. Change is a pain and both the successes and failures of the organization are always the same. When the leaders on a team buy into the vision, they will all fiercely steward it because it belongs to all of them and not just the visionary. Yet, the opposite is also true. Leaders will not fiercely steward the vision they don't own because it only belongs to the visionary. The culture created by the leadership team helps to create an immune system to regulate routine. Routine saves time as leaders learn the culture of the organization and develop environments for healthy growth, competency, efficiency, and proficiency. Yet, this immune system also exposes the pain of stagnation if routine becomes management when it needs vision casting.
Management maintains the vision of the past, and therefore, it is not the case that management is bad. It is certainly a type of leadership. Surely, there are times when an organization needs the steadiness of a governing leader who maintains the values and morals of the organization that have taken it from good to great. Yet, at other times an organization becomes stagnant, and management hampers healthy growth, competency, efficiency, and proficiency. It is in those times that visionary leadership draws toward the vision for the future, pioneering a path that asks the startling question, “How do we apply the vision of our forefathers to today’s world, in such a way that it insures the success of the vision for years to come?” When David chose his might men, he chose, "of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do," (1 Chronicles 12:32). Vision demands some sons of Issachar in every organization who understand the times and know exactly what to do.
Remember, change is inevitable, but growth is optional. As adapted from Ruby K. Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty, there are really only four reasons a person/organization chooses to change:
1. A situation is too painful to continue.
2. A goal or vision calls for immediate change/growth.
3. A “sponsor” initiates a significant relationship, whether that is a change in leadership or change in ownership.
4. A skill, gift, talent, or new capability/market that the organization sees value in pursuing.
When the pain of stagnation becomes greater than the pain of change, people are forced to make choices. Yet, those choices are futile without vision. Ken Friar, the executive vice president of InJoy Stewardship Solutions said, “From good to best, move toward unrest.” In other words, as he also stated, “There is no growth in the comfort zone and there is never comfort in the growth zone.” Someone once well said, “If your only tool is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail.” Sure, routine saves time, but it cannot be an excuse to remain the same, nor should it be mistaken for symbolic convergence. Symbolic convergence is the theory explaining how meanings, emotions, values, and motives for action are hidden in the rhetoric that is co-created by people trying to make sense out of a common experience. So remember, common experiences create common bonds, but uncommon experiences create uncommon bonds teaching that each ending is actually a transition to the beginning of the first day of the rest of your life. Ultimately, the leadership of an organization is the only resource an organization has to offer the world because leaders reproduce themselves. If it is true that vision drives the future, then your team must be able to sustain the vision.