“It is a good day to die!” It seemed like a suicidal statement given by the 33 year old Lakota Indian, Chief Crazy Horse. It describes his attitude as he prepared to battle against General Armstrong Custer at Little Big Horn, June 25, 1876. Unlike Custer, Crazy Horse survived the battle to fight again. The famous statement, which illustrates the confidence in which Crazy Horse embraced war and possible death, can be un-nerving to contemporary mankind. However, it also demonstrates the complexity of dealing with the radical changes we often face.
On the one hand Crazy Horse refused to embrace a new way of life. On the other hand, he would gladly embrace death, if necessary, to protect himself and his people from further intrusion and change. Though he won the Battle at Little Big Horn, “change” had already won the war! Like it or not, life as he had previously known it was over. A new day had dawned, and a new culture had arrived. The North American Indian would be forced to learn how to function in a new, unfamiliar, and frustrating world; or lose their identity altogether! Painfully, we know the rest of the story.
Leaders of churches, businesses, and institutions often find themselves in the same struggle as Crazy Horse. Like it or not, fight it or not, our world is rapidly changing, bringing with it a new culture. It is the duty of leaders to be aware of how those changes affect the organizations they lead, and to navigate the pathway to remain relevant and effective in the new culture.
My next seven posts will highlight a specific requirement to help you do just that! Join me for each one.
Requirement number one is:
Effective Change Requires a Leader with a Clear Passionate Vision.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership!” Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. John Maxwell, and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf… I’ve heard all of them say it. There must be something to it! Why is leadership so important? Answer: The future of every organization is bound in the vision of its leaders.
If the leaders have no vision, there is no direction for the future (Proverbs 29:18). Real leaders see what the followers don’t see…yet! Vision is a powerful thing. Vision is like a telescope, helping leaders see farther into the future than the followers see. Vision is like a magnifying glass, helping leaders see clearer into the future than the followers see. Vision is the roadmap and the fuel that helps the leader take the organization into the future. Like a riverbank channeling the water, vision channels the leader’s focus, energy, decisions, and resources in a specific direction.
Vision and courage are the foundation blocks for leading effective change. Is your vision clear? How clear? Can you describe it in a couple of sentences? Try it. Is it compelling? Does it induce passion in your soul? Does your team know where you are trying to take them?
 International Leadership Institute, Christian to the Core, (ILI Publishing Team, 2011), 23-24.