Updated: Mar 30, 2020
In their outstanding book Accelerate – High Leverage Leadership for Today’s World, my good friends Suzanne Mayo Frindt and Dwight Frindt introduce a paradigm called Vision-Focused Leadership. They define it, essentially, as leading from a mental model of some desired future state. When used effectively, it has catalyzing power to transform an organization.
A key element of Vision-Focused Leadership is a concept they call the Yonder Star. In their words:
“The Yonder Star is the ideal, out in front of you and up above the path you are currently traveling, that provides a common focus and inspires your actions. Priorities, plans, and milestones are designed from a focus on the Yonder Star. From this mindset, actions are prioritized by their value in fulfilling the Yonder Star.”
Suzanne and Dwight model this kind of leadership in the very name of their company, 2130 Partners. That name, and their core philosophy, is derived from a Native American insight (often attributed to the Iroquois Confederacy). The premise is this:
The Frindts founded their business in 1990. Seven generations of twenty years each makes 140 years. Dwight and Suzanne lead their company from a commitment to work from that long-term, Yonder Star, vision they’re striving to achieve out in the year 2130.
Talk about a long-term vision … a Yonder Star, indeed!
I love this model and way of thinking for a business and an organization. Think of the power that’s unleashed when everyone in an organization shares a common vision of the world around them 140 years out into the future!
It works well for an individual life and legacy too! Your legacy is not you. It doesn’t even belong to you – your legacy belongs to others. You can certainly influence it, but it’s separate from you. It’s how others will remember you – how they’ll speak of you, IF they’ll speak of you, after you’re gone. Your legacy doesn’t exist in the present. It exists in another person’s heart and mind, in the future.
With that in mind, take a look at this diagram. It’s slightly updated from the one we introduced in the last post:
Notice the addition of ‘Your Desired Legacy.’ It’s shown as a ‘Yonder Star’ – ‘out in front of you, up above your current path.’
In any given circumstance, a universe of possible attitudes, behaviors, choices, and decisions surrounds you. Some will lead you closer to fulfilling the legacy that matters most to you. Others will take you further away from your desired legacy.
A defined ‘Desired Legacy’ provides a focal point. It inspires future ABCDs, leading to its fulfillment. It’s good, of course, to have a focal point – a goal, or intended destination. But any pilot or astronaut can tell you: navigating towards a single point without a frame of reference is impossible.
In the Academy Award winning film, Apollo 13, the three-man crew of the mission must navigate their way safely back to Earth after an explosion severely damages their spacecraft. Leadership lessons abound in this outstanding film!
In one particularly memorable scene, the astronauts must work together to perform a 'manual burn' to correct their trajectory back to Earth. Without the aid of the ship’s course computer, the crew must perfectly execute a difficult 30-second burn or they will all perish. The stakes are high. They have their focal point, the Earth, clearly in mind. But they have no frame of reference in which to operate.
With precious time slipping by, as they hurl through the darkness of space, they suddenly realize they do! By keeping the Earth positioned in view through one of the LEM’s windows throughout the course of the burn, it’s possible they could successfully execute the maneuver.
The tension is high as the scene plays out. In the end, all three astronauts work together to pilot the ship, literally using the LEM’s window frame as their operating reference, and the burn is successful.
Cinematic drama at it’s finest!
So it is with navigating toward your desired, yonder star, legacy:
While your ABCDs are constantly moving you, don’t miss this: other people are moving too – because of their own ABCDs and also in response to your ABCDs. Navigating in such a dynamic environment is impossible without a defined frame of reference.
Thankfully, when it comes to this thing called life, we have one! We’ll talk about it in our next post.
Until then, make the most of the incredible gift you have before you right now. With the world literally shut down in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus, we are all blessed with … TIME. Unhurried, time in isolation with those that matter the most to you.
God has pressed the world’s reset button like never before in our lifetime. His finger will eventually lift and life, as a new normal, will resume.
When it does, how will you be different?
Why not use this time to make deep, intimate contact with your conscience and get your Yonder Star Desired Legacy clearly in focus?