How to Get from Here to There

As I write this I’m leaving tomorrow to go on a trip. I know where I’m starting and where I’m heading so it is easy for me to put the information into my GPS. I wish things were that easy as a leader in getting from point A to point B.
Dr Ike Reighard recently came and spoke to our staff and said, “The number 1 job of a leader is to define the present reality.”
I bet if you surveyed a hundred leaders you would get a pretty healthy list of things as their number 1 priority before they said something similar to defining the present reality, but it makes sense doesn’t it?
I can cast all the vision I want and tell everyone where I think we are headed. But if we don’t have a clear understanding of where we are, we don’t have a starting point as we set out for our destination. Let me give you a practical example.
Suppose I’m pastoring a church that averages 50 in attendance on Sunday mornings, but because of “pastor math” I “know” we are a church of 90 people because I can always think of 6-8 families I don’t see on any given Sunday. Now suppose I have a goal of growing our average to 100 people. We don’t need 10 people…we need to double our church! That’s a different endeavor altogether.
I’m doing myself and my team a disservice by attempting to build on a false sense of reality.
Here’s another example that is a current conversation the team I lead is having:
We currently have 2 rotating serving teams on a Sunday to set up, serve and tear down (we are a portable church meeting in a school). In theory one week team “A” serves and the next week team “B” serves. We have set a goal to grow from 2 teams to 3 teams to allow our current volunteers to go from serving 26 times per year to approximately 17 times per year and to create more serving opportunities for people who aren’t involved yet. If we need just shy of 60 people serving on a Sunday “to do church” then we need 60 more people to create our 3rd team, right? Well what we’ve discovered is that we don’t have 2 clearly defined teams. We have a core group who serve on each team, and then they are surrounded on any given week by a number of volunteers who serve one Sunday per month. We really have a team “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D”, and it just so happens that some of our volunteers serve on 2 of those teams each month.
What we found out is that we know where we want to go…we just didn’t know where we were starting. To create the plan of action we had to more clearly define the current reality. When we did, it actually caused us to change where we’re headed, but that’s another post.
So here’s my challenge to you as a leader, or an individual. This week define your present reality. Take a break from looking to the future, casting vision about where you’re headed or setting any new goals for the coming year.
Put words to what you are right now.
Don’t be scared to say that things are as good as you want them to be. You’re not staying here, you’re just here now.
If you’re honest with yourself and with those you lead they’ll respect you. They can see what you see. They know the reality anyway. They’re probably questioning your leadership as you continue to paint a different picture than what they see around them.
Be honest with who you are. Pick out the next destination. Then get to work!