By Robert J. Tamasy
My first experience of driving an automobile by myself, without someone in the passenger seat beside me, was one I will never forget. I was working on the evening shift as a stock clerk at a grocery store about four miles from our house, and my parents had agreed for me to drive one of the family cars solo.
I had received excellent driver training, through my high school and from my father and an uncle in Texas with whom I had spent about six weeks the preceding summer. So I felt well-prepared, and my drive to the grocery store was uneventful. The drive back home, however, was a different story.
About 10 p.m., I clocked out for the evening and emerged from the store to walk to my car. An extremely dense fog had settled in and I could not see more than 10 feet ahead of me. “Well,” I thought to myself, “let’s see how this works out.” Fortunately, I had traveled the route to and from the grocery store many times, both as driver and passenger, so I could almost visualize the path I would follow, even though the fog obscured most of the way. The headlight beams seemed to bounce back toward me, which did not help the situation.
This was in the days before anyone had even conceived of cell phones, so I could not check in with my parents to advise them of my progress. My mother was a nervous wreck, and my father had decided to become a one-man search party for me, if needed. Thankfully, I arrived home intact, without a scratch on the car, although the short drive took nearly an hour longer than it ever had before.
I share this story because sometimes life is like this. We encounter a crisis, whether in the workplace or in our personal lives, and we cannot see more than an arm’s length ahead. “Where should I go? Is the path clear? Are there any unexpected obstacles lying hidden in the ‘fog,’ threatening to bring me harm?”
It all comes down to vision – or the lack of it. In a business context, many successful entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders have experienced great accomplishments in part because of one key factor: They had vision for what they wanted to do and how they could get there. And they clung to that vision, even when the way seemed obscured or “fogged over.”
Similarly, a business team typically thrives when everyone shares a common vision – not only for the present, but also for the future. You might be familiar with the story of a brick mason centuries ago who was asked what he was doing. While some of his coworkers had commented things like, “mixing cement,” or “raising up a wall,” this mason’s response was classic: “I am building a cathedral.” That is vision!
The Bible speaks a lot about vision. One particular translation of Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Another translation expresses it, “Where there is no [prophetic] revelation, the people cast off restraint….”
An effective leader is one who understands the importance of casting vision for the corporate team, being able to answer questions such as, “Where are we going?” “Why are we going there?” “How are we going to get there?” “What will we be doing when we arrive?” Are they just building a wall – or a cathedral?
© 2020. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and has edited other books. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.
1. Have you ever had an experience in attempting to travel in dense fog, or a severe storm, when the way ahead was nearly impossible to see? What was that like for you?
2. What about in a business or professional context? Have there been times in your working career when, whether as a leader or an employee, you lacked vision for where you were headed and why you were heading that way? If so, what was that experience like for you?
3. How would you describe or define the value and importance of vision in a workplace context? How can vision best be communicated and put into action?
4. Vision also is an important part of growth and progress in a spiritual sense. How can a Christ-centered vision for your work make a difference in how you approach what you do, or for how you interact with others over the course of a workday?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:
1 Samuel 3:1; Lamentations 2:9; Daniel 10:2-12; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 3:9