There’s nothing more heroic than the leader who goes off to some lonely place and comes back after an extended period of time with a clear vision for the organization and people they lead.
It’s what I call the Moses temptation of vision creation. In the Moses temptation the leader believes he or she’s to go off to the mountain, meet God, receive divine direction and return to the people with a vision so solid and unmovable that it’s written on tablets of stone.
When God used this process with Moses the results were stunning – a set of 10 “laws” which are still the basis of much of the today’s legal system. Yet it’s also the root of the Moses temptation – believing we’re Moses and our vision’s equal to the Ten Commandments.
But the issue for lesser yet important visions and their creation is that the process doesn’t allow for dialogue and debate necessary for building a committed team of stake holders. How can you debate a message from God “engraved in stone”?
Transparent, honest and humble dialogue’s necessary if stake holders are to have true buy-in and a long-term commitment to a vision. It’s not enough for an organization to have a charismatic leader who can inspire followers for a season; sustainable vision requires a sustainable community of people whose commitment’s built on their involvement in a vision’s creation.
And one last thought. Doesn’t a truly inspiring vision, one that compels us to long-term sacrifice, need to be significantly larger than a single person? I know I want to be a part of and lead an organization with a vision bigger than any single person, including me.
What about you? What’s your take on the Moses temptation? What kind of vision inspires you to a long-term commitment to seeing it through to reality?