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Posts Tagged ‘Roger Parrott’


I really appreciated the perspective on leadership presented in Roger Parrott’s book The Longview.  I found it helpful to better understand my role as a leader and to avoid many of the traps that undermine leaders or waste their time with unnecessary work.

The B&B Media Group provided me with a copy of the book.  And they just provided a brief interview with the author about the book.  Here you go:

Many of today’s ministries suffer from a near-sighted vision.  Too often leaders choose easy solutions over principled, long-term strategies.  The results can be devastating, as ignored issues become full-blown crises, and small problems become big challenges.

The Longview (David C Cook, October 2009) is a fresh approach to leadership that will transform how readers make decisions and address problems.  Author Dr. Roger Parrott offers proven, practical principles drawn from scripture and his renowned career in educational leadership.  Parrott issues readers a timely challenge: Defy the trends of short-sighted goal-making for quick returns by learning to lead for long-term significance.

Do we have a leadership void today?

The problem is not that we don’t have great leaders, in fact, we’ve probably never had more educationally well prepared leaders than we have today.  The problem is that leaders are caught in an ever tightening vice grip of unrealistic expectations that pressure them into valuing turn-around over transformation. Today’s leaders are expected to find simple solutions to complex problems, and because these quick-fixes only hold for a short time, leaders from presidents to pastors disappoint those they are leading.

I believe this pattern started in American culture in the 1980s with the quest to get rich quick from junk bonds and buy outs, through the dot.coms in the 1990s, and the explosion of “want it now” credit card debt and built into the real-estate frenzy created by leveraged speculators in the past decide.  So leaders have been reared, tutored, and equipped to operate in a world that prizes immediate results over lasting significance.

For three decades skyrocketing incentives have been the norm for all manner of short-term producers—from stockbrokers to college coaches—as leaders at every level have indoctrinated us to believe immediate gains trump long-term consequences. This nearsightedness is eroding the foundational underpinnings of organizational quality and severely handicapping the effectiveness of leaders who are robbing the future to pay for today.

How did the Church become caught up on a short view approach and what are the consequences?

As we often do in the Church, we’ve followed the pattern of the world – in this case, the best of business and organizational teaching – but in mimicking the leadership patters of business and politics, we’ve strayed from the Longview leadership model given to us by Jesus.  Because this short view corporate culture has so permeated the church today, we in ministry have loosened our grip on the biblical model for leadership. We have grown to expect and even demand an ever-increasing cycle of measureable and immediate results from our leaders.

Our theology and our ministry passion draw us to talk about Longview outcomes as our heart’s desire, but we have been duped into fostering a generation of leaders, board members, employees, and constituencies who value short-term gain over Longview significance. Ministry leaders believe it and act accordingly—hiring and rewarding people who can promote Band-Aid fixes as monumental solutions, creating plans that promise the moon and always come up short, raising funds from unrealistically compressed donor relationships, and touting those results that can most easily be measured and applauded.

Why do you believe rising leaders are the generation who will value a Longview approach to leadership?

For three reasons I’m convinced this new generation of leaders are ready to embrace Longview leadership:

1.      They know the short view doesn’t work. This is likely to be the first generation that has not had a quality of life better than their parents.  And they know the reason is we are not dealing with Longview solutions in the macro problems of health care, terrorism, energy, and the economy. And they will be the ones to pay the price for patchwork fixes.

2.      They are connected to huge networks of real people through social networking, and listen to them rather than public relations messages – and they know from their peers that sugarcoating a problem doesn’t make it go away.

3.      This new generation of leaders is much more focused on mission significance and problem solving than on organizational stature and position climbing. They want to make a difference in the world, and they are willing to dig into problems to find lasting solutions.

The challenge for younger leaders is that they have never been given the tools to lead in a Longview pattern.  So the book is not just a call to Longview leadership, but mostly is deals with the everyday nitty-gritty issues of leadership from a Longview perspective.

Stay tuned for more….

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“I’m just a big ego, and everywhere I  go

people know the part I’m playing…”

So went the lyrics on a spoof on David Lee Roth’s cover of Just a Gigolo.  It fit since he was often said to possess quite the ego.  I read an  interesting chapter on ego in leadership.  I started a new book, The Longview: Lasting Strategies for Rising Leaders today.  It is written by Roger Parrott, the President of Belhaven College.

The first 2 chapters were great.  The first was on the challenge to take the longview, or to make decisions as if you will never leave.  He finds (with support from many business studies) that what is wrong with business (and the church & parachurch) is that decisions are made only for the short-term to get quick results so you can move to the next position.

As I read this chapter I was convicted.  At a particular point I started thinking of my next position, and sort of checked out.  I probably made lousy decisions at that point.  And that is Parrott’s point- when you are treating the position as temporary it shapes your concerns and choices.  You want to look good NOW, with little to no regard for what will happen after you leave.

One reason people look toward the next position instead of taking the longview is ego.  They want bigger and better.  They view the current position only as a stepping stone to the next step up the corporate or church ladder.  This is why I didn’t go into youth ministry.  I knew I would only treat it as a stepping stone.  (Don’t worry, my pride showed up in other ways like the self-righteousness of not playing the “game”).

Because ego-driven leadership must be continually fed, it demands that immediate needs are always more important than the longview results, thus stifling opportunity for ministry of lasting value.

(more…)

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