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Vitamins or Aspirin? Present & Future Focused Leadership

“Netflix as a DVD mailer was a vitamin. But Netflix as a late-fee vanquisher was an aspirin. It eliminated a pain.”–from a recent Fast Company article by Dan and Chip Heath, authors of Switch and Made to Stick.

I struggled through this article because I like vitamins more than aspirin. I love preparing for the future in general and in ministry. But my leadership could be drastically improved by learning how to discern the aspirin of the present and connect it to the vitamin of the future!

So far in my seven years in ministry more people have been interested in the present far more than the future–to the tune of 80/20 present/future (rough estimate). I will say that good leaders HAVE to own the future whether they are naturally wired towards it or not, but the majority of people that I’ve led value aspirin over vitamins.

One more great quote from the article:

“You’ve heard the old saying “If you invent a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” Don’t bet on it. The world’s felt need isn’t for a better mousetrap. It’s for a dead mouse.”

Such awesome advice. Here’s a couple ways I’m thinking of integrating this:

1. Use social media to listen to those whom I’m leading to discern their felt needs. If the majority of those you lead are on Facebook it all but eliminates guessing what the needs are.

2. Spending time on the “so what” of the future; not just where I want to see the Lord take us, but what happens if we don’t go there? What sort of real and immediate problems/dangers will arise?

Do you gravitate towards vitamins or aspirin? Have you tried integrating the other into your leadership?

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