Joel, my 14-year old son, and I went fly fishing last week on our trip to the Teton country. We hired a guide who schooled us on what would be our first full day out and first time holding fly rods.  It's not too hard to pick up the basics, but as experience fisherman will share, you can spend the rest of your life mastering the art of nuances fly placement. 

For hours we worked the angles, trying to lock in on the 10 and 12 o'clock positioning of the ideal fly cast. The amazing thing is when you feel the perfect cast, you discover that the fly rod does all the work in projecting the fly forward. To achieve this dynamic, two things are important. First you need to stop the backcast at the right position. Second you need to delay for a moment to let the fly line extend all the way backwards before bringing it forward.

It's quite startling when you realize how little you need to exert force to get the best cast. All morning I was working 2-3 times harder than necessary. What did my guide say that made the difference? He said, the last 10% on the backcast makes all the difference.  Sure enough, as I focused on the last 10%, the results were huge and almost effortless. The fly jumped way ahead with much less muscle.

The parallel to clarity  in the life of the leader is stunning. Often  a leaders works 2-3 times harder than necessary. Better results are possible with less effort. That's not an exaggeration: better results are possible with less effort. How can that be? Clarity enables you to focus energy and attention in the just the right place to maximize your return.  It removes distractions, eliminates side-ways energy and allows all the "people and parts" of the organization to be fully utilized (like the fly rod). The last 10% is particularly applicable when it comes to articulating vision. Most highly gifted leaders stay 70%-90% clear. But when you close the gap of the last 10%, exponential results will follow.

Just like my casting.
Topics: Date: Aug 8, 2010 Tags: church consulting / church leadership / execution / fly fishing