One of the best books on leadership I have ever read is Leadership is an Art by Max Dupree. In the book he says that a leader’s first responsibility is to define reality. I am in an define reality kind of mood. I think it has been brought on by my need to evaluate and figure out what is next for several of our family minister area’s here at GCC. I also have some friends who are struggling to survive in organizations that ignore reality and ask people to live in the land of fictional happiness when the end is near. Whatever we do and where ever we lead we have to be ok with embracing the facts around us. It has to be OK to process and be vocal about good and bad news so we can see clearly where we need to go next. Vision and Strategy are amazing tools that push us forward, but until we define reality then we have no starting point. Until reality is defined we will never be able to measure forward progress. Without defining reality we just allow vision and our strategy to move us in circles.
The questions I am asking right now to help define reality come from all directions. Is what we are doing working? Are we connecting with people? Is the vision / mission being fulfilled? Is there a better way? Do we love our current organization strategy more than a new or old strategy that might push the vision forward? In our situation as a church, are people becoming more like Christ? All of these are hard questions and can hurt our pride. I am personally asking these questions and they hurt. They lead me to be responsible. Defining reality means I have to be accountable for my part of the adventure and call others to accountability. NO FUN. Defining reality means I have to ask questions, evaluate, and help others on the team to see exactly where we are. When this happens our team begin to move forward. This is the NOW WHAT moment where we allow Vision to inspire and strategy to be mapped out.
I love where we have been as a church but I refuse to stop evaluating. tweaking, dreaming, and hoping for a better day. We never arrive as a church. You never arrive in your organization. I am ready to ask some hard questions and I want to say today on February 17, 2009 that in the coming months and years you will see changes in our ministry because we stopped and defined reality. Reality is hard but it leads to healthy forward motion. I love healthy forward motion around here because it means people’s lives are being changed. It’s worth it.
“the first task of a leader is to define reality” – Max Dupree