Innovation involves bold action and courage. As Christian school leaders, we must be prepared to act boldly and courageously to lead our organizations and the larger Christian school movement to a preferred future. In part one, we discussed how leaders communicate the vision for the future, establishing that leaders need to humbly communicate the vision and that leaders must recognize that God’s timing is often not our timing. In part two of the blog series, we built on this foundation, focusing on the steps required to innovate. In the third edition, we considered the necessary steps to creating an innovative culture rather than implementing an innovative idea. In our final article, we consider how to overcome the inevitable challenges that will come our way when we innovate.
How do you know if you are an innovative leader? One of the most salient ways of knowing is by measuring the amount of resistance you face. While this is not a foolproof test, it certainly will provide you with some insight in how you are innovating. True innovation asks new and fresh questions. It pushes boundaries. In general, innovation challenges the status quo.
The purpose of this final installment is not to dwell on the opposition or the obstacles but to suggest principles to survive them. As it did earlier in the series, the story of Joseph provides insight into how to overcome obstacles and opposition.
Give Your Best Regardless of the Circumstance
When faced with opposition, what is your first response? Implementing innovation will ultimately lead to challenge; therefore, it is critical to examine the proper response to unwanted circumstances. Joseph faced two unique and difficult challenges. The first was being sold into slavery. The second was being falsely accused and put in prison. In each of these circumstances, Joseph could have reacted by complaining, quitting, or blaming others or God for his challenges. Joseph chose a different path.
Joseph worked his best for the Lord. As a result, the Lord blessed all that he did. As innovative leaders, we are faced with a similar challenge. In the face of opposition, our response needs to be a continual focus on working for the Lord. Regardless of the resistance against our vision, always giving our best effort will leave an indelible mark on our people and our institutions.
Give God the Credit
As innovative leaders, we have ideas and are tempted to believe that our ideas are driving our individual and corporate success. When opposition occurs, we see the challenge as a personal attack. By giving God the credit, we are simultaneously admitting our inadequacies and releasing the circumstances to God.
Joseph, when faced with the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, intentionally and wisely acknowledged that all of his success and ability came from God. As innovative leaders, we need to follow Joseph’s example and give God all of the credit.
Recognize that our present challenges are tools for God’s Providence
Finally, the story of Joseph reminds us that challenges, obstacles, and opposition are often tools for God’s Providence. Through the challenges, God fulfills Joseph’s dream. Are you willing to allow God to use your challenges, obstacles, and opposition as a means to fulfill your dream. Are you willing to give God your best work at all times? Are you willing to give him all of the credit? When we do, God takes our pain and turns it into His glory.
I want to encourage you to be innovative. Dream. Take the right steps. Focus on the culture. Overcome challenges. If you have the courage to innovate, God will be glorified and His Kingdom will be advanced.