Every leader, and every organization, wants to make progress. There’s nothing exciting about living in a state of compromise or apathy. Even worse is backward progress. Yet all of us are smart enough to know that desire alone is not enough. Just because you want to make progress doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed. You have to remove certain inhibitors to progress in order to see forward momentum. What are those inhibitors? There are five of them:
1. Unclear Vision—Vision is undeniably essential to any personal or organizational effort in order to create forward movement. Without vision, you’ll wander to your next destination … it just won’t be a preferred destination. Thus, the first inhibitor to making progress is unclear vision. You can’t get “there” when you don’t know what “there” looks like. And if you do know what “there” looks like, you won’t get “there” without clearly casting your vision to your team.
Unclear vision typically shows up in three forms: borrowed vision, self-imposed vision or fuzzy vision. Borrowed vision occurs when a leader steals someone else’s vision and makes it his own. Self-imposed vision happens when a leader dreams up a vision without seeking God for His vision. And fuzzy vision happens when a leader simply doesn’t take enough time to see a vision clearly. It’s usually a rushed process that lacks prayerful, reflective thinking. If your vision is unclear, begin with a vision formation process.
2. Irrelevant Strategies—Sometimes a leader has a clear vision, but they don’t have relevant strategies to achieve that vision. They’re afflicted by outdated and well-worn methods and programs. While they might have a vision for the future, it’s often viewed through the lens of strategies from the past. Your vision should drive your ideas, not the other way around. If your methods and strategies seem ineffective, evaluate them carefully by using strategic thinking strategies.
3. Ambiguous Plans—Many leaders have noble dreams and visions, but they don’t have a plan to get from point A to point B. It’s like a new year’s resolution without a roadmap to move forward. Or, if there is a roadmap, it lacks innovative thinking or strategic details, or it’s misaligned with the vision. Progress is inhibited simply because of an ambiguous plan that’s filled with loopholes.