Don’t see yourself as a visionary communicator and instead prioritize the maintenance of week-to-week ministry?
Are you finding yourself on a ministry treadmill, where the busyness of ministry creates a progressively irreversible hurriedness in your life? Today’s demands can choke out needed dialogue for tomorrow. When this occurs, your multiplied activity prevents you from living with a clearer vision of what should be.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to call a timeout and evaluate the obstacles that keep you from focusing on visionary communication about God’s preferred future for your church.
Solution: Develop Your Authentic Voice
THE QUICK SUMMARY – Louder Than Words by Todd Henry
There has never been a better time to build an audience for your idea or product. But with so many people clamoring for attention online and offline, it’s also more challenging than ever do work that deeply resonates and creates a true and lasting effect.
How do you set yourself apart in such a noisy, crowded world? How do you do work that is truly remarkable?
The key is to develop your authentic voice. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a writer, a designer, or a manager building a brand, the more clear and compelling your voice, the more your message will connect with your audience. The result will be more impact and greater personal satisfaction with your work.
Louder Than Words offers a strategy for uncovering, developing, and bravely using your authentic voice to create a body of work you are proud of, that resonates deeply with others, and that ultimately impacts the world.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
One role of today’s leaders can be seen as clarifying what is already present and helping people perceive what has gone unnoticed.
What is clarity really about? Clarity means to be free from anything that obscures, blocks, pollutes, or darkens. Being clear as a leader means being simple, understandable, and exact. The leader helps others see and understand reality better.
In order to bring clarity, a leader must first develop their authentic voice.
Your authentic voice is the expression of your compelling “why.” It defines the space that you are wired to occupy, and the unique value you are contributing, which means that if you don’t use it, then that contribution is unlikely to ever be seen.
If you set out to build a bridge between two points on a river, you’d better first determine:
- The purpose of the bridge and the kind of vehicles that will be crossing it
- Whether you have sufficient resources and materials to complete the project
- Whether or not a bridge is even the right solution to the problem of crossing the river
To apply this metaphor to your work, it’s important that you are able to articulate the kind of effect you wish to have, and how you want the world to be different through your efforts. You should at least have a sense of how you wish to connect with your intended audience, and how you plan to impact them. Though you don’t want to become paralyzed with inaction out of fear of getting it wrong, your vision provides you with a set of guiding principles to help you stay aligned and measure your progress.
Even though they may not have all the steps mapped out, most great leaders have some sense of where their work is leading and the ultimate impact they want to have. They have a “north pole” toward which to navigate, even if only in a general sense. This vision is what guides their efforts as they continue to refine and develop their voice.
Todd Henry, Louder Than Words
A NEXT STEP
One aspect of speaking with an authentic voice requires a precise focus on whom you are trying to reach – you have to define your intended audience.
In his book Louder Than Words, author Todd Henry advises leaders to ask the following questions when preparing to discuss vision:
- Who is my intended audience for this?
- What impact or outcome am I trying to achieve for them?
- What expectations will they have of me when I talk with them, and how can I meet and surpass them?
- How might I surprise and delight them by over-delivering in unexpected ways?
As you are preparing for your next opportunity to communicate vision in front of a team or group, walk through each of the questions above.
In advance of the talk, ask a trusted colleague to sit in on the presentation. Following the presentation, schedule a debrief time with your colleague, covering the four points listed above. Ask your colleague for candid observations on how well you covered the four points. Discuss improvements in the next opportunity you will have to talk about vision.
Repeat this exercise at least once per quarter for the next year.
When you find yourself on a ministry treadmill, constantly in motion but going nowhere, step off and learn how to connect with your team and organization with clarity by developing your authentic voice.
Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 28-1, published November 2015
Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader
Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. I’m going to peruse back issues of both SUMS and SUMS Remix and publish excerpts each Wednesday.