3 Warnings Signs of Vision Dissonance

Harvard business professor John Kotter has stated, “Behavior from important people that is inconsistent with the vision overwhelms other forms of communication.”

If Kotter is right, and I believe he is, then a leader whose life does not match the vision being articulated nullifies the vision message, the website, the brochures, and the catchy slogans. Really, all those things are a waste of time, rhetoric, and money if leaders do not live what they are asking others to live. Communication is a waste of time if leaders do not live the vision they are communicating.

What are some warning signs that your life is drifting from the vision you are articulating?

1. No personal illustrations

Your life is speaking much louder than your words. If you have given those you lead “values we live by” or “a mission we are pursuing” but you have no personal illustrations about how you are living those values or pursuing that mission, then you are not personally consumed with the direction you want others to be consumed with.

2. No recent personal illustrations

Perhaps you have illustrations, but they are really old ones. Be warned, it does not look like the vision is compelling you today. Example: If you are a church leader who keeps painting the vision of biblical community but the illustration you keep going back to is from 11 years ago, then you are not living your own message today.

3. Frustrated with your own culture

Brad Waggoner, the executive vice president at LifeWay, once told a group of seminary students, “If you have been leading in a context for several years and you don’t like the culture, the culture is likely a reflection of your leadership.” The leaders, for better or worse, impact the culture of the teams they lead. If you are frustrated with your own culture, ask yourself, “What are the people I serve seeing in me?”

A leader whose life does not match the articulated vision fails the credibility test. Leaders, be sure you own what you are asking others to own.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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