IVP - Online Pulpit - Thinking - A Critical Need of a Leader

December 1, 2007

Thinking - A Critical Need of a Leader

Some years ago a magazine pictured a man staring out of a window; the caption read: “Why does this company pay this man $100,000 to look out a window?” Because the lifeblood of any organization lies in ideas and creative thinking.

Solomon wrote: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov 23:7 NASB). Thinking is powerful. Flying a plane, air conditioning, cell phones, vaccines, the World Wide Web—without thinking, these were “impossible.” Everything begins with a simple thought.

Ideas are a great moving force of history. For that reason, thinking is a critical need of leadership. We are never free to do what we cannot conceive. A leader’s thinking must shaped by the following:

Vision: What Is Our Dream?

Carl Sandburg was right: “Nothing happens unless it is first a dream.”

Vision is a process of the mind—it’s mental, not visual. Vision is seeing what everybody has seen but thinking what nobody has thought. Vision, in a biblical context, is to ask: What would God have me do? What does God want with our organization, our church, our ministry, our family? Where does God want us to go?

Someone has said that what is needed to build pyramids is someone who can think and ten thousand people who can grunt. Unless at least one person is thinking, no pyramids will be built—and neither will a church or business or ministry or family. * Values: What Is Important?*

Values have to do with how we treat people, how we do our work, what is important to our organization. Values are the standards, the principles, the code of conduct that characterizes our organization.

Organizations don’t dream up values, they already exist. But leaders give the organization’s values shape and form. It’s like some universities that decide to pour sidewalks after students have first worn a path. Look at your organization. Where are the well-worn paths—the actions, the beliefs, the attitudes—that matter most? These are your values: make them known.

Venture: What Are We Willing to Risk?

Organizations that make a difference are willing to think outside the box. For example, a company was in the well-digging business. For years the employees had thought only in terms of how to make better augers to dig wells. They hired a new president and on his first day at work he said, “We are no longer in the well-digging business. We are in the hole-making business.” Thus his employees began to think in terms of efficient and effective means of making holes, and they soon discovered that lasers dug holes better than augers. They achieved the same goal but accomplished it more efficiently.

Look at things differently, and take risks as a leader. * Vehicle: What Will Get Us There?*

Once the vision, values and venture are in place, we need to think about what steps to take to arrived at our objective. How can we accomplish our desired outcome? A dream without a strategy is merely wishful thinking, but with a strategy it becomes powerful thinking. * Victory: What Will the Celebration Be Like?*

A leader thinks like a champion. He or she thinks in terms of success, not just “getting by.” The leader has the ability to stir things up, to capitalize on a unique window of opportunity. The end result is to move forward, to accomplish goals, to be God’s faithful servant, to celebrate being a part of God’s kingdom.


If you are in a place of leadership, wake up and start thinking. Take off your nightcap and put on your thinking cap.

Posted by Rick Ezell at December 1, 2007 9:36 AM Bookmark and Share

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