Next week during our annual School of Theology retreat, I am presenting several proposals that would considerably change the way we do undergrad and grad level ministry training here at Campbellsville Univ in the future.
To be a leader, you must have vision. That is clear enough. But vision is more than just having good ideas while you’re in the shower. Good ideas are pointless unless the visionary has the ability to see it, say it, sell it and stamp it into action.
1. See it. This is the idea origination stage. This is the spark of clarity. This is the moment when something in you says “this might work.” This usually happens either all at once in a blast of creativity or over time as you seek to solve a problem and advanced your strategy. You got to be able to see it in your mind’s eye as a realistic, futuristic possibility somewhere, out there. (Be cautious here though. Don’t let too many others “see it” before it hits stage 2. Keep the cat in the bag until just the right time.)
2. Say it. Now communication comes into play. Taking that idea and forming it into language that is understandable by others. The idea is usually raw and unbaked in previous stage; now it has to be put in the oven and congealed for public consumption. The most effective visionaries find some way to communicate their vision by writing, drawing or conceptualizing their plan in order to clearly communicate it to others. You can be too detailed and “over say it” as well as be too brief and “under said it.” The key here is balance in your communication approach.
3. Sell it. In stage 3, you put your sales face on. It’s time to deal the pitch. You have their attention. You’ve caught them in an intriguing proposition. Now you have to sell your vision with passion and determination. Ultimately, everyone has to see the benefits of your plan and be willing to sign on knowing you are about to change the way they operate. You have to use as much persuasion as allowable in your team dynamic while still allowing for others to edit, contribute and alter your plan. A poorly sold vision is a failure of leadership.
4. Stamp it. The final stage is placing a stamp of approval on the new idea and making it come to reality. You stamp out who is going to do what parts. You stamp out who is going to move the idea up and down the chain of leadership. You stamp out deadlines, goals and objectives for production and activation. You can’t leave the vision in the discussion phase, there has to be a plan of action with specific names and faces attached to the process.
We shall see how well I make it through the stages in the coming days.