Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, said: “At the core of leadership, it’s the power of vision, in my estimation, that’s the most potent offensive weapon in the leader’s arsenal.” This is a powerful statement, and I believe it to be true.
What is vision and why is it so powerful?
Vision in any organization is simply a mental picture of where the organization can be in the future. Andy Stanley says it this way, “Vision is about what could be and should be.” That is what vision is, but why is it so vitally important? Vision is the most potent offensive weapon in the leader’s arsenal for 4 reasons:
Vision creates ownership.
As the leader, it’s true that no one loves your baby like you do; however, when your team knows and feels the vision of the organization, they will care more. The team will work harder and longer to see the vision completed. They will ever sacrifice for it. The reason for this increased commitment is purpose. You have given your team a reason to come to work, and you have answered the “Why” question in their hearts.
Vision creates focus.
It seems that the greatest temptation of any organization is to drift away from its original purpose. Teams and people over time tend to define their own wins within the organization. Things move from simple to complex over time, and within the context of a church, pastors feel the pressure to have a ministry to all people. Giving in to this pressure will ensure that the church will never reach its intended goal. In order to achieve the vision, everyone within the organization needs to stay focused on the main objective, which means saying no to lots of good and new ideas.
Vision helps people navigate change.
Every organization goes through change. It seems that people like the idea of changing things until they have to change! Navigating through organizational change can be among the hardest tasks of a leader. A compelling vision will help people navigate through the necessary transitions because they will know why you are making the changes. Years ago when our church made significant programming changes, stylistic changes, musical changes, and facility changes, we tied it all back to the vision. This certainly didn’t satisfy everyone, but many did understand and get behind the changes. If you want to help people move through changes with you, be sure that the vision is the reason for the change.
Vision gets people excited and motivated.
This may be my favorite benefit of a clear vision. The reality is that people thrive on hope. Hope is a positive emotion that things will be better in the future than they are today, and vision gives people hope. When the people who work in your organization believe that the best days of the organization lie ahead and that they get to be a part of creating that future, their passion is triggered, and they become more engaged. People want to be part of a winning team that is going somewhere. You, as the leader, provide that motion with a clear and compelling vision.
As you can see, vision is the most potent offensive weapon in a leader’s arsenal. An important thing to remember, however, is that visions leaks. Ed Young states, “People forget the vision of your church about every forty-eight hours…so you’ve got to be willing to say it, spray it, wheel it, deal it, preach it, teach it, and sing it.”
Within the context of every organization exists something that Chris Machesney calls the “whirlwind.” This is everything that the organization has to do every day to stay in business. It’s all of the urgent demands that need to be handled. The whirlwind serves as a distraction to the organization’s overall goal. It’s precisely because of this phenomenon that the leaders must keep the vision out in front of the troops. If the leader doesn’t, the vision is lost. Hybels reminds us, “Effective leaders are always monitoring vision leakage.”
- What is the current vision of your church or business?
- Does your team know it and feel it?
- What can you do in the next 3 months to clarify your vision?
Danny Anderson is the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Church located south of Indianapolis. Danny has hands-on experience in transitioning a church, creating and casting a new vision, simplifying programs, building teams, and launching new campuses. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Jackie, his sons Andrew and Beau, and his daughter Ruby.