Friday, 25 March 2011

Responsibility in leadership

I love the term "blue sky thinking". I'm not sure that it has yet come to be hated as much in the church as it has in business circles. In the church, it is still a fairly new concept - a concept caricaturised by an abundance of marker pens and post it notes. I often lead sessions in which I encourage church governing groups to indulge in blue sky thinking though I do not call it that. Because the difficulty is that, once you label something, folk react to the label rather than the often helpful concept. And so, groups are busy indulging in blue sky thinking without being aware of it. Leadership involves a degree of subtlety and cajoling that isn't often named or embraced. It's easy to see then how leadership can be abused and corrupted and there are plenty of examples of that. But, in the case of blue sky thinking. leadership also involves encouraging groups to anchor their good ideas and to support them while they do that. Leaders require, therefore, to display commitment in ensuring that structures for long term support are in place after the blue sky thinking has been encouraged or we risk setting up hopes that will quickly plummet when they cannot be grounded and progressed.
Is it too sacreligious to imagine that, in the desert for 40 days, Jesus might have indulged in some blue sky thinking before emerging to change the world?


Dot said...

Not sure about it being sacreligious but how right you are that other leadership groups have done 'blue sky thinking' to death!!
In my pre-retirement life, I dreaded the blue sky meetings, usually it was about trying to be creative about lack of resources because of cuts being imposed and being packaged as a wonderful opportunity to do things differently!
Now on the other side of retirement I need to address the implications that come with these cuts in resource and re-engage with the blue sky at a more personal level. After the basic needs are met all else is a bonus, and re-framing priority is both challenging and rewarding.
Now, I think that the best gift I can give people is time to listen to them, not some smart, colourful packaged gift that costs the earth!
The best gift I can give to myself is to spend time with the people I love, offer my
time where I can try to help make a difference to people's lives, and time to draw apart from them and spend time with my Saviour. All of these things more precious than gold, yet with no financial implication! I give thanks!
Blue sky thinking, re~framing priority and the luxury of the time to reflect on all of this~wouldn't change it for the world!
In the words of a late moderator ( Very Rev.Dr Andrew Doig) "It's people that count"!

Crimson Rambler said...

oh my, I laughed three times reading this -- subtlety and cajolery, YUP. And pouring quantities of melted butter over the participants from a great height, too!

and you are right about the labels. The first sneer is usually about 1/2 second after the assigning of a label.

for what it's worth...some of this kind of thinking could also be called "reframing hope", and recently I heard a kind of useful imaginative technique described (this was some months back, and on dry land too!!!)...that part of our exercise in imagining a future good AND its infrastructure (and the preparatory steps) entails imagining it not as a snapshot, or an "artist's rendering," but as a video.
hope your day is going really well!
and I'm with Dot about the pre-retirement and post-retirement difference--right on, there!

liz said...

Crimson, Like the idea of a video rather than a snapshot. And glad the post raised a laugh. If I could only get dot on a boat, she would LOVE you revgals! And you would love her!

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