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Accelerating Leaders


Thoughts on Leadership

Stretching Your Vision Beyond Your Retirement or Tombstone

Vision-driven leaders have big goals, dreams and desires for their company, business, church or ministry.  A common temptation for these leaders is to rush the fulfillment of the vision so it is accomplished by their retirement or by the leader's death. Stretching Your Vision Beyond Your Retirement or Tombstone

What drives a leader to want to see a vision to be fulfilled by retirement or death?

1.  Leaders are visionaries.  Leaders are gifted to accomplish big things and they are designed to play a key part of fulfilling visions.  This is an expression of God's image and the unique calling of that leader.

The Old Testament leader, Noah, was given a big vision and he saw that vision come to fruition in his lifetime.  Sometimes leaders realize the fulfillment of the vision in their lifetime.

2.  Leaders are prideful.  This is the dark side of visionary leaders. In their drive to see the vision fulfilled they can steamroller over people to reach "their vision". They can use, abuse and manipulate employees, friends and even family to reach their vision.

The book of James talks about people who have selfish ambition in their hearts. This ambition is said to be earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  What? Demonic.  Yes, selfish ambition to fulfill a vision is demonic.  As leaders let's repent of pride and seek the wisdom for vision fulfillment which is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

3.  Leaders are shortsighted.  One Japanese automotive company has a 500 year vision for their company. This has a significant influence in how they do business. They are in it for the long haul. No CEO will see the fulfillment of the company's vision in his lifetime yet he is commitment to something beyond his life.

4.  Leaders are addicted to approval.  Some leaders are so driven by the need to be accepted that they have an obsession with achievement. If they achieve, they think they will be accepted and approved of.  This driven quality is applauded in our culture but the deep motive shows an unhealthily undercurrent in the life of the leader.

Questions for an alternative approach

You want the vision to become a reality.

  • What would happen if you allowed the vision to come to completion after your retirement or death?
  • How would a humble attitude with a long-sighted look let the vision develop naturally without being forced?
  • What would happen to the vision if your identity is not tied to what other people think about the success or failure of the vision?

What have been some of your observations about this leadership temptation? 

Charles Hooper, Jr.