Leaders See a River . . .

Visionary Leaders See the Big Picture 

I actually had a dream about this. In the dream, God told me that I would soon see a small waterfall and to stare at it to see what I could see. A few days later, I was in the mountains and did indeed see a small waterfall. I thought about it and prayed about it for an extended period of time. The analogy that follows came from this time of prayer and reflection. The theme is used throughout Good King/Bad King.

Organizational life reminds me of nature. Imagine in your mind’s eye a waterfall. What do you see? Some people see the white mist at the bottom and to the side of the fall. Others see individual drops or streams at the side. Still others see the continuous blue water in the middle of the fall.


What do visionary leaders see? They don’t just see a waterfall.

  • They are able to see that the waterfall is neither the beginning nor the end. They understand there was a rain shower first. Individual raindrops ran together to form small streams. Streams ran into creeks. The creeks ran into rivers.
  • They understand the individual raindrops are united with the river.
  • They see the river has banks, which cause the water to flow together in a wide channel.
  • They understand the banks don’t control the individual drops but rather guide the flow. They twist and turn but continue in the same general direction. They don’t force their way through big obstacles. They follow the path of least resistance that moves them in a continuous general direction. Often banks narrow leading up to a great waterfall. The channel deepens. There is a great tipping point where the water runs over the fall.
  • They notice a solid blue stream of water in the center of the waterfall representing the oneness of the individual drops. They also notice the drops and spray at the outer edge which reminds them that the river is made up of millions of individual contributions.
  • They see the power, force, grandeur, and beauty of it all.
  • They understand that it doesn’t end at the fall. They see the stream with rocks and rapids. They notice the potential for fun and the potential for danger from the rocks below.
  • They notice the twists and turns of the mountain stream, but they also notice that it continues in the same general direction.

(We will look at more of the river metaphor as it relates to organizational leadership in next week’s edition. Thank you for reading!)

For more insight into the nature of the organization, please click here to find out how to obtain Good King/Bad King–Which One Are You?