“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained” (Proverbs 29:18a)

If you look up the word ‘unrestrained’ in the Dictionary of Biblical Languages, you find two possible definitions, “take the lead, i.e., move to the front of a group as a leader”, or “be unkept, loose”. In the former definition, a de facto leader rises to the occasion and takes the lead. It is situations like this in battle where a member of a squad takes command when their leader is incapacitated, and he (or she) leads them on to victory. I’m sure we’ve also seen the situation exist in companies when an ineffectual leader cedes control of a department to someone who is stronger. Hopefully, the de facto leader sees what is best for the department and the company and is able to accomplish it. Oftentimes though, the second definition is what we see, and the people who aren’t being led effectively wander aimlessly through their days, overlooking problems, wasting time with office politics, and not contributing to the success of the company.

As a leader, it is imperative that we make sure our vision is known by everyone in our departments, as well as in the company, and that the vision is aligned with the strategies of the company. But kicking off the vision and posting it on the wall isn’t enough. As The New Leader’s 100-day Action Plan puts it, “In this effort, repetition is not just good, it’s essential. Let me say it again – repetition is not just good, it’s essential. In other words, you’re going to have to create different ways and times to repeat the same message over and over again with what you say and what you do” (p. 156). Don’t overlook those last four words, ‘and what you do.’ If we don’t model our vision and how we want people to work, why should we expect them to do any differently?

— New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Pr 29:18). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

— Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.) (DBLH 7276). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

— Bradt, G. B., Check, J. A., & Pedraza, J. E. (2006). The New Leader’s 100-day Action Plan. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.