But We Don’t Live on Paper…


Talk about synchronicity! The Peanuts cartoon is the cartoon of the day for today, November 8, 2005.

Yesterday, I started in on Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus’s little book, Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge and on page xiii of the foreword, Bennis and Nanus reference the same Peanuts cartoon! Amazing! (You think somebody somewhere may be trying to tell me something?)

They’re talking about the significance of passion in effective leadership. Bennis and Nanus argue that “mission statements” by themselves aren’t a whole lot of good for anything…

Without a sense of alignment behind that common purpose, the company is in trouble. The opposite of purpose is aimlessness, drifting. But it can’t be any old purpose that will animate, galvanize and energize the people. It has to have resonance, meaning. (p. xiii)

On paper, we – our lives, our churches, our families, whatever – are always at the top of our game. We can define what we want to achieve. We can act busy as though we’re actually doing something. But without passionate action, we’re in danger of being correct, without doing right. I think it was Erwin McManus who included this quote in one of his books…

Of course, we had a mission statement. It’s the mission we’re lacking.

On paper, the hated Yankees win every time. On paper, Florida State kicks North Carolina State’s butt every week. On paper, churches are set and destined to grow. On paper, leaders are effective and make an impact. On paper, believers are personally involved in the mission of the Kingdom. On paper, schools prepare students for success in real life.

But, in the words of that great philosopher, Skip Caray

That’s why we play the games.

On paper, I’m pretty dang good! How ’bout you?

But just remember, Schroeder: We don’t live on paper…