NOTE: The three recent blogs on “Becoming a Visionary Leader” are all a portion of a life-changing workshop/coaching experience facilitated by Todd Braschler to invest in leaders in business and in ministry. This training is available and flexible in a variety of ways to you or your church or business. Each session of (5) can stand alone as an investment in your team, as well as, the entire 2-3 day workshop experience. This is not a lecture series or conference. Instead, this is a discovery experience facilitated to help others excavate God’s vision for their leadership. The topics include:
- Becoming a person, a ministry or business that God would actually anoint and bless.
- Aspiring others to follow, rather than simply inspiring others.
- Understanding the role of leading with vision.
- Articulating vision that actually makes a difference in the every day.
- Discerning God’s personal vision for you as a parent, as a spouse, as a leader.
- Discerning non-negotiable boundaries, something way beyond a couple of core values, creating an environment in my leadership where vision thrives.
- Discerning God’s vision for people who come in contact with your life.
Todd also mentors leaders personally through a weekly investment by phone/internet with a face-to-face intensive for 3-days every six months. For more information on this idea or to hold a workshop in your area, contact Todd directly at:
Todd Braschler Ministries
A special thank you to the chaplains of Simmons for the privilege of investing the last three weeks in the employees and leadership within this company. It is a pleasure to speak so highly of Simmons and their leadership and desire to care and invest in their employees through the Chaplain ministry as I share as a proud father about my son, Nick Braschler.
In review, the challenges in our previous two blogs so far have been:
Fixing our eyes on the unseen, the vision God has for us as a person, as a leader rather than becoming consumed with worry and issues right in front of our eyes. Perspective is a major key to remaining the leader of anything.
The vast chasm between getting people excited and actually capturing their heart for a direction, a project, a major change, or a vision. Inspiration will always hold a back seat to the powerful effort of “aspire-ation.”
In my final investment with you, let’s together focus on redefining a term that often has represented, for many, a large amount of busy work resulting in very little return or impact – the pursuit and articulation of a direction, a vision.
Family vacations in our home are often a series of crazy days leading up to the trip. Packing clothes, finding things for the kids to do in the car, buying snacks and hiding them so the kids won’t devour them before we leave, and so on are the norm. Leaving work for a week forces us as well to think about what is going to occur while we are away, and making plans to take care of those details before we leave i.e. paying bills, sending emails, and communicating with our superiors.
For a young family, only a few pieces of information and forethought were necessary:
- Knowing how long we will be gone.
- Knowing who we will see on our trip.
- Knowing what we were going to eat and how often.
At first, these three points of info were all that was needed. However, the older our kids became, the more details were required. As they reached the age of 10 or so, the information requirement changed:
- How many showers am I going to have to take?
- What are we going to do?
- How long is the trip?
- Where are we going?
- Will there be any girls we meet once we arrive?
As younger children, these thoughts didn’t matter when it came to the activities, what to pack, and the final destination. The fact we were leaving the house was enough. However, when the boys came to the age when planning became a part of their preparation, the need to know where we were headed, our destination, defined the answers to many of the other questions.
Of all the challenges to a happy home, a thriving company or ministry, or a successful vacation, confusion has the potential to do more damage and cause more frustration than just about anything. Even in tragedy, people rally together for the common good. However, insert confusion about what we are doing or where we are going and you have the potential to completely derail those signed on with you.
- What’s expected?
- Where we are going?
- The strategy to arrive there?
- What to pack, or how to prepare?
- When will we know we are accomplished what were expected to accomplish?
- What to do next?
Leading others to see with you the direction, the vision of the potential future is the first step to dissolving confusion. Former President, John F. Kennedy once said,“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
In God’s great wisdom, he has offered us (4) incredible means of utilizing the gifts of sight or vision:
1. With Our Eyes – With the exception of those who have been born with the challenge of blindness or have experienced a disease or accident, most have been given the incredible privilege and ability to include the world around them through their eyes, to see people and God’s creation tangibly with physical eyes.
2. Through Memories – What a gift to be asked a question about our past, only to somehow return back to that exact moment, and see as clear as today the scene associated with that memory. Perhaps it was your first toy, or your parents, or brothers and sisters, or your first day in school – these thoughts bring about a remarkable intrinsic ability to return to a scene or incident in our mind with clarity and detail.
3. Imagination – This gift from God is the ability to hear a story from someone else, or to hear them describe a place they have been, and as we listen to paint a picture from the details being shared. Incredible! The ability to piece together a cabin in the woods as someone shares about their vacation, or the new office a friend is describing having just been promoted to – what a tremendous gift God has offered to every human being. I doubt any animal or fish on earth has that ability. Walt Disney made a living and incredible impact on the world simply by taking his imagination and thoughts and drawing them out on paper, and eventually into real life rides and parades and experiences.
These three approaches to seeing and visioning seem normal and easy to discuss. However, I’m finding that the fourth most definite concept, while just as real and tangible, seems vague and somewhat unknown. While similar to concepts #2 & #3 above, this concept is not based entirely on the past, or spurred on by the input and imagination of others today. This is a concept of sight and vision that rests deep within each person, solely as a gift from God. This concept is more of an “excavating” experience for us than an experience of “exploration.”
Just like water in an underground aquifer, God’s vision has always been present, but often rarely excavated. This vision comes when we accept Him as our Savior and Lord specifically, but is present and ready for action with only one step often missing – the effort to access it, and bring it into the light.
4. Interpreting Into Pictures God Vision – This is a journey to the very core of who we are, and the direction and destination we sense. It demands we make a commitment to initiate direction and action accordingly. This concept is based on the assumption that we believe God has a dream and vision for us and for the place he has us leading (i.e. our home, our church, our office, our business).
Scripture clearly teaches us to trust that, in fact, God has a dream and vision for us. John 3:16 describes a portion of God’s vision for us:
"That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life"
Scripture then continues to describe throughout God’s Word what “eternal life” and “heaven’ will look like.
Perhaps, like me, this challenge to describe vision pictures for your family, your business or ministry has been represented by a sentence (vision statement), followed by another sentence (mission statement). These expressions were often followed by a list of what has been called “core values” and even accompanied often by a list of bullet points listing purpose statements of some sort. These ideas are often plastered onto walls and websites in hopes that those who are employed or involved will be compelled to follow.
Unfortunately, the impact desired often through this approach to “visioning” has had less than the desired result. I found myself asking, “Is having a vision and a direction really that important? Most of the efforts I’ve seen have had little or no impact at all in changing anything around me. And, if this is important, how can we describe a desired future for people who are asked to follow us that is compelling, that changes the culture around us, and actually looks like a vision (something you can actually see in your mind and spirit) rather than a sentence of intent?”
In the study that followed, I found these elements to be a vital part of visioning as a leader:
- PICTURES: We must understand that vision is not a statement or a measurable plan. It is a set of pictures and scenes from the future if God has his way that are known only to us through His leading.
- DESCRIPTIONS: These pictures represent different aspects of my leadership as full, Technicolor pictures I can describe to others of what I believe is to come as a result of our direction today. These determine how I dress, how I lead and treat others, etc… They are present within you today whether you can see them currently or not.
- ASPIRATION BUILDERS: These desires and directions then serve as the “tension builders,” the aspirational aspects of our leadership that give mature criteria for others to utilize in making decisions of whether or not following our leadership will be worth the sacrifice and effort. These “aspirations” capture the heart of people to follow us.
- RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP: Spending the valuable time to articulate these intentional pictures for our leadership demonstrates the level of responsibility we have for the lives and the efforts of those we are asking to follow us. But make no mistake, articulating our vision for our effort, our ministry or company before describing the kind of people we intend to build as a result, will conclude with high turnover and less than a complete commitment from those we hire and ask to volunteer. (I have so much more to say here, but no room or time now.)
- NON-NEGOTIABLE BOUNDARIES – Self-imposed limits and boundaries I place in my life and in my leadership as strategies to move toward the vision God has set before me.
Interestingly enough, the definition of the term “intentional” in the Webster Dictionary is, in fact, “an eternal reference point.” Eternal, as we studied in my first blog, is unseen at the moment. It is not a plan, it is not measurable. It is, however, a place I lead my life and other people “on purpose.”
To hear more and to begin to practically put these ideas into practice, contact me personally to see how “seeing pictures” and leading with “intentionality” might transform the way you ask people to follow you. Thanks again for this opportunity to invest in you today.