The Power of the Anti-Vision Statement

“So why didn’t they get the vision?” It was the question that I was asking someone I was working with as we talked about their team. There seemed to be a lack of commitment to the vision and we were trying to work out what was missing.

As we talked it struck me there is something about Australian culture that is distinctly different to that of American culture. When the leaders of Telstra read the book Good to Great by Jim Collins in the 2000s, they thought “this is what we need!”. They had a great vision of where the company should be at.

It failed. Miserably.

The employees looked at the great vision of what things should look like and in their typical Australian way shrugged their shoulders and said “Let me know how it works out for you” and got on with their jobs.

As we talked more it also occurred to me that this guy (and others I had spoken to) are more influenced by the anti-vision statement rather than the vision statement. This is the answer to “What happens if we get this wrong?” as opposed to “What is it we can do?”. For the kids ministry team he was leading he was able to give a vision of the kids being discipled. But this is was not enough. Exploring what happens when the ministry does not go well was more important. There is more at stake. Kids will not know Jesus, and not want to come to church. Parents will not want to drag their kids there, possibly looking for another church, but more likely giving up on church all together, etc.

For Australians I think this is more powerful because we have a sense of responsibility more than a sense of adventure for what could happen. Maybe the vision statement in your ministry needs the opposite anti-vision statement to help see why this is so important.

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