Beach Balls

One of the toughest challenges for leaders is what I call the "Beach Ball Mentality" (The idea isn't new to me, but I've forgotten who I stole it from).

Imagine your office, home, church, or wherever it is you serve as leader as a multi-colored beach ball. Each department/location/ministry/family member represents one of the colors.

When you live life in the blue section, you see everything through shades of blue with the exception of times you move to the edge of blue and can catch just a glimpse of another color. All your decisions, wants, and desires are colored by your understanding of reality, which is blue. In the beach ball to the left, someone who lives in blue will have a hard time ever even knowing that yellow or pink exist, much less be able to understand things from their point of view. This is an unavoidable reality; the leader cannot just command blue to see yellow or pink.

The challenge of the leader is making decisions that affect the whole ball while considering the effect of those decisions on each color on the beach ball. This is particularly hard because the larger the organization, the more likely it is that the leader's own reality is separate from the reality of others in his organization. Leadership begins to be its own color.

This is why communication is vital for the leader in any organization. Although he can't touch every color, he has to touch those who do. Every decision that he makes must be with the entire ball in mind and must be framed in such a way that the person who lives entirely each color can understand and hop on board.

I'm convinced the beach ball mentality is at fault for the majority of our problems with music in the church, morale in the marketplace, and conflict at home. It isn't a problem with the people first and foremost; it's a problem with the leader.