Out of Alignment


What happens when the vision of the leader is different than the vision of the people?

What happens when the vision of the leader is different than the vision of the people?

Maybe my staff has a different focus. Maybe the church I lead wants to go in a new direction.

The first question I should be asking is: "How did this happen?" The second question is: "How did this happen on my watch?"

Leaders must accept responsibility for what goes on in the organization. If there is a split in the vision of the church or business, the leader must answer the questions as to how this happened and how it happened now. Then the leader must figure out what to do to change it.

If my church moves away from my vision, I can't jerk them back with one sermon or one staff meeting. Instead, I need to think of myself as an orthodontist trying to straighten teeth. I need to put the braces on the teeth and then with each visit I must slowly turn the key to bring the teeth back into alignment. I can't just tighten them in one motion and say, "You've got straight teeth now." Doing that could cause damage, and the results won't last. Likewise, I need to tighten and turn my people a little at a time until I bring them back to the vision. I don't want to beat people up or accuse them of not doing what they should. It is not their fault that the vision went the other way. It is the leader's responsibility.

Many leaders in this situation will say, "I had no choice." But we do have a choice. We always have a choice. When we say we don't, we give up our ability to do anything to change the situation. Taking responsibility for a wandering vision will gain us an opportunity to correct it.

When I talk to the staff of an organization, in only a few minutes I can see who has and who hasn't bought into the leader's vision. If the people say, "Pastor's vision is..." instead of saying, "Our vision is..." there is a disconnect. If the leader says something like, "My people really want to do this and they want to do that," his language reveals that he hasn't bought into their ideas. The words used can alert us to a vision that has shifted between the leader and his people.


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