In this lesson we have been examining that kind of vision which defines the destination of journey, the achievement of something that is not yet, a more desirable future. The vision defines it and the journey brings it about. This kind of journey is implicitly about change because the vision is about bring about a change to the current situation. Establishing the vision, envisioning others to embark on the journey which brings it about what leadership is about.
When we talk about visions of this kind we normally assume that it’s about something big, something grand but it need not be. A vision simply describes a different future and that can be as simple as making a cake.
From the Christian perspective any vison we develop needs to be firmly anchored in God’s plans and purposes. It needs to keep his perspective of reality which, while it includes what we normally see, is far greater and broader because his work is normally invisible to us. We must be careful to make sure our work is not in vain because it must be God who builds the house.
Visions are important because from them the purpose of team is derived. Each associated team may have its own specific purpose but its higher purpose, held in common with the other teams, is the vision.
By understanding our passions and life-long themes, looking at present issues and discerning future developments we can define a vision for ourselves, without reference to God. But, in the Kingdom its God’s leading and call that is important. It’s his vision for us, or our team that we need. We can work this through with God through prayerful enquiry, listening for his leading – his challenge to our hearts and seeking to deploy godly wisdom.
But the best, most effective visions will emerge when the team is included in their development and expression. This maximises ownership as well as benefiting from the collective wisdom arising from the team’s diversity. The vision then needs to be conveyed to and caught by others so that they buy in and choose to embark upon the journey. This must be done with sensitivity because in any group of people there will be a range of reactions to any proposed vison, from enthusiastic agreement to the exact opposite – vehement disagreement.
It’s important to lead all those who will be affected by the change programme to buy in to the vision. Because they cannot avoid the change that the vision implies it’s important that they volunteer for the journey. Organisationally they will be required to participate in making it happen. That can be a long process and eight key steps have been identified. Examining the story of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt shows these factors at work. They are:
- Create a sense of urgency
- Build a guiding team
- Develop the vision and strategy
- Achieve buy-in
- Empower action
- Achieve quick wins
- Don’t let Up
- Make it secure in the Culture
Bringing about the change necessary to bring about a vision is a challenging task for any leader. Success will not simply be measured by the outcome but also the degree to which the Christ-centred servant leader has, in the process, managed to live out a character conformed to Christ’s sacrificial servant heart.
Review the exercises in which you considered the needs of your organisation or team. Can you identify a genuine need for change? If you can, determine your vision and plot out how you would bring it about. Remember visions can be about something relatively small, they don’t have to be grand plans.
Prayerfully consider whether this vision is in line with God’s plan and, if it is take it forward.
Having completed the lesson take time to review the Exodus story and your findings about change. Do you now find more insights? What are they? If you have not completed that exercise for the first time it would be good to that now.
Review the rest of the book of Exodus looking for how God continues to lead the Israelites on their journey of change. Can you identify the characteristics of the change process?
If you have not yet read John Kotter’s books do so. Especially the fable “Our Iceberg is Melting”.
Next comes the final lesson in this module and in the programme. The Servant Leaders Guide to Creative Solutions. God has made our minds marvellously. They work on patterns but in this the fallen world our minds get stuck in patterns of thought. We keep to the familiar and force fit new challenges to old ways of thinking. When it comes to developing visions, solving problems or grasping opportunities, we try the old ways again and again. When we do this the solutions we devise often fail to deliver the outcomes we desire. The next lesson will look at a range of thinking tools to help us identify new, original and innovative solutions so that we can find better visions, better solutions to problems and innovative approaches to opportunities.
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Buzzell, S; Boa, Kenneth; Perkins B; The Leadership Bible, Zondervan
MacMillan, P., The Performance Factor – Unlocking the Secrets of Teamwork (2001), Broadman and Holman
Cormack, D., Change Directions – New Ways Forward for your Life, Church and Business, Monarch Publications
Kotter J.P., Rathgeber H., Our Iceberg Is Melting, Macmillan.
Kotter J. P. Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press
Sessoms R., Buckland C., Culture Craft, Claybury International