Leaders and Managing the Gift of Momentum

If you are a leader, you know there are seasons with momentum and seasons without. As a Christian leader, you must preach to yourself that God is good in both seasons, faithfulness to Him is the priority in every season, and often the most fruitful work is done when there is no momentum—that seasons of planting and watering require diligence and care.

When there is momentum, it is a gift. John Maxwell has called momentum a great exaggerator because it makes leaders look better than they are. While we must never find our worth or identity in seasons of momentum, wise leaders should want to steward those seasons well.

Here are some lessons I have learned about managing the gift of momentum, through the lens of time, money, people, and energy.

Invest more time in opportunities than problems.

There will always be problems to solve. Always. And some problems cannot be ignored and they demand a leader’s attention. But it is possible to spend an entire day solving problems without investing any time in opportunities. If the leader’s time is focused primarily on solving problems rather than maximizing opportunities, the season of momentum will be shorter than it could have been.

Invest more financial resources where there is momentum than where there is not.

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is an unwise way to lead because often departments or programs that are not effective will not solve their problems with more money. A better way to manage momentum is to invest more heavily into what is driving the momentum. Leaders have limited resources, so it is wise to water the trees that are bearing fruit.

Leverage key leaders towards the greatest opportunities, not the greatest problems.

Jim Collins has encouraged leaders to deploy their best leaders on the greatest opportunities, not the greatest problems. By doing so, the effectiveness and the development of the leader is multiplied.

Attach to existing energy instead of attempting to create your own.

I am still learning (or trying to learn) to surf, but one does not have to be an expert to know you should look for the wave and catch the wave. Some leaders unwisely try to create their own waves instead of seeing the wave that has already been created and paddling toward that wave.

Don’t live for seasons of momentum, because they are fragile. But when they are there, enjoy them as a gift and maximize them for the sake of the people you and your team serve.