Leadership & Movement

Here’s a great quote from John Kotter’s book: A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management. (Free Press, 1990).  He suggests, rightly, that leadership does not produce consistency and order, but that it produces movement.  While management is necessary to keep a complex organization on time and on budget, leadership is very different.  Kotter describes three subprocesses of leadership within a complex organization with which my soul resonates.  This is my idea of the foundational description of a missional leader:

1. Establishing direction– developing a vision of the future, often the distant future, along with strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision.

2. Aligning people– communicating the direction to those whose cooperation may be needed so as to create coalitions that understand the vision and that are committed to its achievement.

3. Motivating and inspiring– keeping people moving in the right direction despite major political, bureaucratic, and resource barriers to change by appealing to very basic, but often untapped, human needs, values, and emotions.

One Comment

  1. Well put Ken. It’s a potentially vicious cycle this movement thing. We move, we discover new levels of success, we package that success and attempt to reproduce it thus resulting in non-movement.
    And yet we are called to movement. The challenge is balancing between celebrating God’s new presence among us, and continuing to be faithful in forward movement.
    I believe Eriwn McManus in “An Unstoppable Force” touches on this briefly.

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