Context is Everything: Why Understanding is Crucial in Leadership

“I do not fear truth. I welcome it.  But I wish all of my facts to be in their proper context.” 

-Gordon B. Hinckley

Context is everything.

"I hear what you say, but I’m not sure I know what you mean."

I’ve been thinking about this fact during some recent discussions. Bringing clarity and perspective about any topic is important. When you are bringing clarity about your future it is critical. Preparing for a lifetime of ministry is a way to think about retirement. Within that retirement context, we call it Future-Funded Ministry. Within a management context we refer to it as metrics. Within the religious context we call it apologetics.

Understanding what is true and getting that truth into the right context makes all the difference in the world.

Recently I helped facilitate an RZIM conference on Understanding and Answering Islam. My goodness, as I’ve studied and been exposed to the history and current application of Islam to our world, context is everything. The context changes what and how you think about Jesus, priorities, and certainly relationships. Understanding Context in Leadership
When your perspective of “Retirement” is purely secular and reflects the common understanding, the focus is totally on you, your happiness and carefree lifestyle. When your context changes and your perspective is one of thankfulness to God plus a servants heart, your thoughts, actions, priorities and stewardship activity changes dramatically.

When you experience joy because of a changed relationship it impacts your life. If you can only experience guaranteed eternal joy through martyrdom, as seems to be true in Islam,   it changes the way you live, and die.

What does this mean to you as a leader?

So what is the best way to go about gaining understanding and context?  “Understanding” of both macro and micro realities are preconditions to effective leadership. The macro, big picture, and micro, the details, shape  how you understand an issue, respond to an issue and decide on a course of action dealing with the issue.  These realities shape both your strategy and tactics as a leader.  The context leads to conclusion, every time!

Here are 3 things to Check Out Your “Understanding”

  1. Does your view of man and the world line up with the teachings of Jesus and the Bible? Here is the first test of reality, what is true.
  1. Do the activities you are measuring reflect  what is true: are your metrics accurate andrelevant? 
  1. Is your plan, your solution to the problem, extending over time,  actually achievable: does your infrastructure support   the solution or the  vision?

I urge you to think through each of these points. They are all critical in their own way. When taken as one approach, they make a powerful structure upon which to build your leadership style plus your specific strategic and tactical plan.

Here is another way to say it:

Is it true?

Is it measurable?

Is it doable?

Again, as we are early in the year, these are simple but effective questions to ask before the calendar tells you the year is already half over.

Final Thoughts

Putting facts in their proper place during election time is really frustrating. It seems like every candidate gets a pass on the facts and revels in the exposition of the dramatic. Unfortunately, while you can campaign that way, you cannot lead that way. The world is much too dangerous and our world is much too complicated.

When all is over, Praise God.

Traveling together with Trusted Advice along The Way.

Bruce Bruinsma