To be harnessed effectively, idealism needs to be grounded in a practical sense of how to get results and a grassroots understanding of the lay of the land. – Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn: A Path Appears; Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity
I’m currently writing the first draft of a book on Leadership. The Book is tentatively titled “LeaderSheep; Leading from a Posture of Submission in Business, Ministry and Life”.
The first draft is always the hardest for me, as my thoughts form around a concept I continually fall down rabbit holes that sometimes take me weeks, or even months to find my way out of. The good part about that is that I end up developing a deeper understand of the concepts that go into my writing and find ideas for other books in the process, the bad part is that the book I originally thought I was writing tends to become something completely different and I end up with more ideas for other books in my head than I could possibly write in a life time. The concept of LeaderSheep itself was a rabbit hole I fell down while writing my first book “Meekonomics; How to Inherit the Earth and Live Life to the Fullest in God’s Economy”.
Anyway, it just happened again. This time I started asking questions about how leaders stay grounded in reality and what metrics they must learn to use in order to measure success.
You see, if you’re are going to lead a project with a big goal, and goal here isn’t really the best word, if you’re going to take on a mission, you need to have a strong sense of what success looks like. But what if your mission is so big that you will only see a small part of it succeed in your lifetime or what if your mission is part of a grander ideal that no one project could possibly encompass? That’s the kind of thing I’m thinking about as I write this book. Missions to eradicate human trafficking cure cancer and profoundly change the world we live in. If your mission comes from a place like that, how do you measure progress, how do you know when you’ve made it and most importantly, how do you know when your time has come and gone and you need to take a step back?
I recently read Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s excellent chronicle of development economics, “A Path Appears.” It contains a lot of stories about how people are working on some of the world’s biggest and most entrenched issues. It didn’t help with the rabbit hole. I only ended up going deeper and further from my original goal, but maybe that’s just what I needed. While I didn’t get a lot of answers I did learn about the questions people are asking and the metrics they are using along the path. As a result there will be a big section in this new book on a new kind of leadership metrics, maybe even a whole other book about it. For now I just have to be content with the process and just enjoy the ride.
So a couple of questions if you’re so inclined to help me find my way through this particular rabbit hole.
Are you engaged with a big mission?
How do you define your role?
How do you measure progress?
How do you know when it’s time to step back?
Comments are appreciated or if you prefer a private conversation, write to; firstname.lastname@example.org, use the subject line “LeaderSheep Metrics” so I can easily file the responses for use at a later date.
Thanks – Lauren.