Over fifteen years ago now I read a book by Peter Schwartz entitled The Art of the Long View. It is one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read on strategic Planning. Seven years before the Soviet Union fell apart Swartz predicted it. He looked at trends in the culture and economy predicting that between 1989 & 1991 it would come apart. And it did! It’s a great read even today, worth the time to read it. He deals a lot with “what if” scenario planning.
While doing the research for my doctorate in education at Indiana University I found something like this Art of the Long View in transformational leaders in the local church. Their peers when interviewed observed that when these leaders were in meetings where decisions were being discussed, they could look down the corridor of time and see the implications of the decisions. They could describe the future reality of the implications of these issues in quite intricate detail. Sometimes it was a negative future — depending on the issue at hand — and sometimes a positive future for same reasons. It was a gift these transformational leaders had been given.
As I have noted in earlier posts I’m reading the book by Brian Tracy Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. He alludes to this same phenomenon when discussing decision-making and planning. Certain individuals can look down the road of time and see what implications todays actions have on the future. Tracy believes these are the people who are the successful people of today. But he also observes that this is a learned trait. How many of us work hard on what’s before us and never take the time to step back and see where our lives are going and what decisions made today will affect tomorrow? He is an advocate of doing just that. He challenges the reader to look five, ten even twenty years down the road. Where will you be, where would you like to be? In a real sense he is describing The Art of the Long View! This is the key to long-term success in life and ministry.
What does your future look like? What decisions can you make today, what tasks can you work on, that will have a twenty year impact on you, your family and your ministry?
Well that’s this leader’s view.