I just finished reading "The Longview" by Roger Parrott. Great read for anybody desiring to grow. Here's the summary! Enjoy!!
Leaders throughout the ages have been drawn to flashy first impressions, the rewards of picking low-hanging fruit, or the approval and support garnered from successful quick action. But when a godly longview is our aim, we develop a whole different class of skills, relationships, and priorities that can carry us throughout a lifetime of meaningful leadership rather than allowing our focus to be fixed solely on the next hurdle ahead.
When short-term triumphs take precedence over long-term success, those leadership skills can deteriorate into selfish decisions, fearful management, and self-deceiving evaluation. And the longer a leader continues in this pattern, the more troublesome the consequences become and the fewer solutions are presented. Eventually, a leader can become entrapped in a cycle that demands ignoring the mounting crisis of the future to sustain the appearance of current success.
Ego in any package is noisy, but it becomes particularly problematic in the hands of leaders. At best, ego that focuses attention on the leader over the mission and the people of the organization is annoying; at worst, it creates a series of serious long-term problems for the ministry. The antithesis of an ego-driven leader is a statesman. This is not a role that comes by way of position; it is rooted in character.
Statesmen push the attention outward rather than drawing it inward. They seek to broaden circles of access rather than restrict them, and include others rather than create false barriers that only a select few are allowed to cross. These leaders are continually learning and drawing out other people’s new perspectives, information, and ideas. They believe the reflections of others are to be enjoyed, not endured until it’s time for them to “give the right answer.”They ask more than they answer, adapt to the ways of others, and continually grow rather than cling to self- sufficient wisdom.
Giving away the credit never hurts a leader in the long run, but hoarding the credit always does. Good leaders share, or better, they totally give away credit for the positive things that happen, knowing it will ultimately circle back around to strengthen their own worth to the organization. And when negative results need to be shouldered, good leaders don’t place the blame on others who may rightly deserve it, but carry that load alone.
Develop a heart of genuine gratitude as you move through your ministry, and you’ll see the world through the eyes of your employees and make ministry infinitely more effective on the whole. Your coworkers will become more committed and more mission focused when you value them as God values them and don’t weigh them down with the burden of blame for their mistakes. Beyond this, your legacy as their leader will be one of godly deference rather than attention grabbing or blame shifting for quick gains in approval ratings.
As followers of Christ, we take our call to be peacemakers seriously, and thus we work to minimize personal conflicts rather than accentuate them. We can be bold and confident tackling social injustices and moral offenses, but when the conflict moves to a personal level within our own ranks, we prefer to avoid conflict whenever possible. As peacemakers, it is appealing to rely on blanket policies that address the whole group rather than directly confront the shortcomings of a few specific individuals.
But the truth is, rather than striving to restrict and control their employees, excellent leaders develop employees through renewing them purposefully. In doing so, these leaders not only find a more substantive and meaningful unity but also often turn up pure gold in the employees who might otherwise have been considered castoffs. This is the longview model for Christian leaders, and it is thoroughly biblical.
Proper accountability finds balance in our employee relationships—too much is stifling, and too little is deadly. We need to find that center point that helps everyone stretch, grow, and perform best. Without accountability, we all tend to drift toward mediocrity in our performance, and too often, sinful nature takes advantage of gaps in accountability. Ministry leaders fall for many different reasons, but they all have in common a lack of accountability in their lives.
By regularly keeping an eye on the rearview mirror, we develop an insightful frame of reference for the future. By watching far ahead rather than keeping our eyes fixed on the road immediately before us, we can minimize the adjustments that toss a ministry back and forth. Leaders must not wait to reach the elusive horizon before considering where to go from there. Instead, they must develop a leadership lifestyle that strengthens their ability to discover what is over the horizon, beyond what others can see, while also keeping a careful eye on the gifts and lessons left gleaming in the path behind.
Good leaders must envision, probe, and then explore new opportunities. Because of their access to broad networks, anomalous perspectives, and comprehensive roles, leaders are more often exposed to opportunities for exploring new domains. But, equally important, they return to inspire, lead, and equip others who can follow them and fully utilize the leader’s advances. Leaders who boldly explore may be recognized for their far-reaching vision, but those who return to develop others to go with them and implement the dream are true longview leaders. And they are the ones most likely to make a long-term difference.
Like casting a vision, big, fresh ideas are exciting to leaders, but they must also have the humility to offer up their ideas for scrutiny. In doing this, longview leaders protect their own organization from oversights and create in it a safe place for the best ideas to flourish. Although it is tempting to leverage your position to hustle your ash-of-genius concept into effect quickly, that may be the surest way to dead-end yourself as a leader and sidetrack your entire ministry. Leaders will be most effective when they assure that their ideas can withstand careful examination; they must learn to welcome, rather than fear, the scrutiny of new ideas.
If we are to catch the wind of God in our sails and go wherever those winds take us, we must begin with the unshakeable understanding that God alone knows the way to the place where wisdom is found. Ultimately, the godly view is the view that aligns with God’s will, revealed and unrevealed, for our organization. If we want the action plans coming out of our ministries to have significance, we must get out of our powerboats and step into boats whose sails are filled with the wind of God.
Leaders Book Summaries