I Saw This Coming. Why Didn't I Act?

Vision and action need a quick connection.
Vision and action need a quick connection. (Flickr)

An implied promise of leadership is that all who follow are headed to an understood destination. Followers must trust the direction and pace of a leader.

Effective leaders have open ears and eyes. Conditions along the way may require course correction. Alignment with vision requires sustained, consistent effort. Vibration along the path is certain.

Many leaders miss signs along the way. Haven't we all heard a colleague say, "How did I miss it? The signs were there. I just didn't act on what I saw."

There are two issues associated with this lamentation. First, there are signs. It's likely that at least some followers saw the same signs. Did someone cry out?

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Second, vision and action are not always connected. If a leader does not act...is it even worth noting that the leader "saw the signs?" It seems incriminating to hear a leader say "I saw this coming." A statement such as this explains how followers become skeptical of leadership.

Leaders should be receptive and aware of at least two types of input.

1. Data points. In this context, a data point is a single occurrence of an issue or behavior.

  • Offering was down Sunday
  • Sally was late to teach her Sunday School Class
  • I didn't pray this morning

2. Trends. A trend is a collection of data points. It is implied that that the data are moving in a specific direction. Trending up or trending down.

  • Offering has been down for 3 months
  • Sally has been late for class since January
  • I haven't prayed in months

It's probably wise to not act on a single data point. The question is at what point does a leader respond to a trend. Effective leaders take action in the face of a known trend.

I intend to write about a macro view of trend spotting in tomorrow's Greenelines. I hope you will read it.

"He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and overcast.' O you hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." (Matt. 16:2-3)

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, here.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.



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