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Good leaders take complicated concepts and make them simple

During last year’s Global Leadership Summit (GLS) Bill Hybels drew two words on a whiteboard with an arrow pointing from “Here to There” and talked about leadership.

I have heard a lot of definitions of leaders and descriptions of what leadership is all about, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it explained in two words.

He has turned this simple concept into a teaching package with work book and CD.

I'm not  endorsing it or encouraging you to buy it and, frankly, don’t remember anything he said about "Here To There" at the GLS, but I’m a big fan of taking what can be complicated and layered concepts and making them very simple to understand and apply.

I have been doing a fair amount of thinking about leadership explained in “From  Here to There” and would like to share some thoughts. I am not borrowing anything from Bill except the two words, as I have not purchased any material he has developed from this, nor do I remember anything he said at the GLS.

For starters, to lead anything, the first step is to know where we are: where is here?  It’s a matter of defining reality--not where we would like to be, but where we actually are…where we are in our leadership journey or our leadership development plan with an individual or a team.

You won’t be able to go to “There” if you don’t where “Here” is. I have used the illustration of walking into a mall looking for a certain store. It helps to go to the  kiosk that has the map which says “You are here,” then you can locate where you want to go (“There”) and decide the best route to get there. The same principle holds true when driving somewhere. The GPS needs to start with where you are to tell you how long the trip will take and the best route (avoiding traffic) to get to “There”--your desired destination.

Then, step two would be: to be clear about what “There” is. What exactly are you dreaming about, praying about, planning and trusting God for? What is your desired destination? What would you like to see happen? That is your vision!

As a leader I am quite convinced that leadership is all about using your gifts, calling, and vision to move people from “Here to There.” I love Exodus 32:34 in this regard.  God tells Moses: “But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you…” He was instructed to leave Sinai (here) and travel to the promised land (there).

In order to lead people from here to there, three things are necessary and there are a plethora of ways to do it.

1)   You, as He leads and empowers you, will want to help people be dissatisfied with “Here.” Explain why it’s not a good idea (not good for any of us) to stay here

2)   Then you want to paint a picture of what “There” will be like and why we would be crazy not to leave here and go there.

3)   Start the journey from “Here to There.” Day by day and week by week help people take next steps to get there.

I would say that going from here to there is what leadership is all about. Management makes here better, but leadership makes “There” more desirable and “Here” less desirable and helps people be willing to change and travel there.

Marcus Buckingham’s definition of a leader is someone who “Has the ability to rally people to a better future.” It’s the same idea; get people to leave here behind and move toward there.

Too simple? What do you think?

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