Great Vision, Bad Execution – 6 Common Mistakes

It’s a delight to watch teams get clear on the future. But it’s a fright to see that hard work of visioning go south when it comes to execution. If the work of visioning can be compared to taking a journey, there are six mistakes I see most:

#1 Spinning Wheel Decision-making. Sometimes, a team can have a great vision process only to get bogged down in complex or ineffective decision-making after the fact. On a car ride of a thousand miles, the spark plugs fire a thousands times each mile. If the little steps to make the vision happen don’t fire, you’ll only putter along.

#2 Courage-on-empty: Clarity is no good if there isn’t courage and conviction to act on it. Sometimes, the team or the point leader get fired up about the next ministry chapter or new direction only to hit the brakes if a few people push back. This lack of courage may be just another way to describe approval addiction.

#3 Ego Side Trips: Sometimes, a team of strong leaders creates sideways energy. Maybe two senior leaders have different operating philosophies. Or maybe youthful vigor on the team insists on going in its own direction. Sometimes, leaders get distracted with building their platform outside of the organization or use a ministry position in a way that promotes personal hobbies and interests. While I don’t often run into ill intent in ministry, I do see lots of strong egos that don’t harness together well.

#4 Communication Breakdown: The best vision in the world will die fast if people are left out of the loop. Meaningful connection to the vision must be sustained by dialogue, vision-soaked media, and vision dripping from the core leadership. After you map out the vision, make sure you map out your communication processes and systems.

#5 False Start: Every now and then, I see a team so anxious to execute that they move too quickly. It may be inexperience or over-optimism. Sometimes, a leader grows to or moves to a larger organization, where implementation requires more steps and nuances to bring everyone along. Sometimes, a leader has a mountaintop experience and fails to get the key lieutenants together and on board for a great start.

#6 Running Too Hot: Having clear vision is one thing. Getting there in God’s time is another. Sometimes, leaders have the right vision but want to achieve it too fast. In their drivenness, people suffer from burnout. In times of stress and extreme performance, other temptations come to the table. It’s critically important not to let the work for God hinder the work of God in the personal lives of the team. God’s vision should never eclipse the godliness of the visionary.

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Will Mancini
Will Mancini emerged from the trenches of local church leadership to found Auxano, a first-of-kind consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. As a “clarity evangelist,” Will has served as vision architect for hundreds of churches across the country, including such notable pastors as Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado. Will holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary and has authored Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement; he also co-authored Building Leaders with Aubrey Malphurs.