shutterstock_162126836Isn’t it amazing how much easier things are when you are on the right track?

Often times we think of tracks as a footprint or trace of anything that is left behind after an animal or vehicle has left an area. But tracks can also be thought of as the regular or normal ways we do or have done things.

In this latter definition, a couple applications and questions arise for leaders: What are the tracks left by those who have come before you? Are they ones worth retaining and continuing to follow? Or are they bad tracks to be avoided or discarded?

Understanding tracks in the context is a critical step in leading.

Issues of right, wrong, or different tracks often arise in churches when there is a change in leadership, particularly the Senior Pastor. We all have either heard horror stories or joyous reports of how a new pastor dealt with a faltering congregation. We also have heard how a new pastor was hamstrung by the former “beloved” pastor who would not “let go” and allow good tracks to be enhanced or new tracks created.

When we are on the right track; when we are in sync with ourselves; when we are not too far ahead of those we are leading, moving in new or improved directions is easy. When we are just out of sync or too far ahead, no one follows. When no one follows we are frustrated and start down relationship tracks that are not healthy, affirming, or God honoring.

I have been reflecting on a couple recent illustrations to make the point.

Last year’s Ohio State football national championship team is one that comes to mind. Totally out of sync as a team and as individuals. They came together, got on the right track, beat Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon in successive games and rose to the pinnacle of success. The pinnacle of success being #1, and the pinnacle of success in organizational relationship. It was hard work, but “easy” because they were on the right track.

Watching the first 3 games of this new season, with almost the same coaches, and players, they are now out of sync. They are winning, but it isn’t pretty. The defense is playing well, but the offense is stuttering, not on the same page, disjointed, and inefficient. Amazing how being on the right track for a time, is no guarantee that it will always lead to the “promised land”. We will see if Urban Meyer and his staff, plus the senior leadership of the team, can get them back “on the right track”.

Another example or right and wrong tracks is in my own home. Judy, my wife of 54 years, recently needed open heart surgery along with a pacemaker implant. Operation, in the hospital for 8 days, then they discharged her. Not a good idea. At home for a week and she was weak, hurting, clearly not recovering at all. A visit to cardiologist and he sends Judy back to the hospital right from his office. His comments were, “Do not like what I am seeing. I need you in the hospital so we can determine why you are not ‘in recovery’. We need to get you on the ‘right track’ and healthy.”

After two days and lots of tests taken, the cardiologist ordered a transfusion, iron, and a dose of steroids. Within hours you could tell the difference. Amazing! Like someone turned on a light switch.

Judy came home a few days later and is clearly on the road to recovery. What a difference the diagnosis and action taken. Getting on the right track surely makes a difference, and being on the wrong one is only painful.

Finally, we see at Envoy the results of missionaries, ministers and the staff of faith-based organizations being on the wrong retirement track. Sometimes, they are not on any preparation track at all. Sometimes they are starting to prepare really late.

Often there is a misconception about retirement all together. So much of our information comes from the world’s view of self-gratification during retirement. It is often said that being focused on yourself is a right. The big book I read doesn’t talk about our focus in that way. It suggests that we are to care for others and to use the talents developed over years of training and experience to reflect the love of our God.

At Envoy, one primary Goal is to re-define retirement as Future-Funded Ministry. In addition, to change the narrative about retirement within the Faith Based Community of believers. Check out this website for more insights on this approach:

So, in conclusion, it is so much better to be on the “right track” in all aspects of our life.

I’ve found it helpful to take a look periodically at “my tracks” and see where they are leading me. It’s also a good idea to do this with the organization or group of people you lead: What track are we on? Where will it take us? What should we do to stay focused on priorities?

Share with me about how either being on the wrong track, or getting on the right one has impacted your leadership experience in the comments below.

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