Value driven vision…

I have learned some things about vision and mission working as a developer of Christian Leaders for more than twenty years. And that is where to not begin when coaching a leader or leadership team. Where not to begin is with their vision. Let me explain.

In the early days the number one question I ask a leader was, “What is your vision?” While this question was usually a door opener it was seldom an eye opener. Over time it became the most frequently asked, least answered question I have encountered. The truth is most did have a vision, but it was not reflected in their vision statement. And if there was a connection between their vision and their vision statement often it was more of a description of what they did than a definition of why they existed. It was usually too generic, and often borrowed from someone else, or other ministry that the leader admired for whatever reason.

Many times it was something that they threw together because someone like me told them that they should have a written vision statement. So when working with leaders, I almost never begin with vision, I now begin with values instead. You see I cannot help a leader or leadership team develop their vision, mission and strategic plan if I don’t know what is important to them. Because what is important to them will refuse to be ignored and simply will not be quiet and sit in the corner while we work on a poetic vision statement. No, it will continually get in the way, demanding attention through attitudes, and actions. Why, because it is what is most important to them. So the key to success is not to wordsmith a great vision statement, it is identify your core values and allow your vision to be birthed by them. They hold the DNA of your future and the secret to the significance of your life’s potential. Your values are the fuel of your passion and your passion is the engine of purpose.

What are your values…

What is most important to you? What motivates you? By what system of priorities do you live your life? Every one of us has certain values that govern our lives. These pillars support everything around us. They are foundational and primary to the core of who we are as people and can often be identified by a simple review of our daytimers, and check registries. Where we spend our time and invest our money gives us away every time. I don’t have to be prophetic to predict your future, all I need to do is examine these two areas of your life. The time and treasure test does not lie. What we value we give great energy and attention. And so does everyone else. While our values vary from individual to individual, we all have them.

If you sat down right now to answer the questions above what would your answers look like? Would you fill pages and pages or just a few spaces? If you imagined your future as a motion picture what would the story line be? Or if you had the chance (and you won’t someone else will) to write your own obituary, how would it describe you? This is a great way to desern your values. Your values are the place where vision and purpose begin. It is your values that will define your leadership vision. All leaders have a vision or at least we are supposed to. But a vision is just a fantasy if it is not based upon a solid, balanced value system that can support it.