By Chuck Porter
Pastor Craig’s most recent episode of his leadership podcast got me thinking about my first car. It was a glorious 1992 Acura Legend. I had that car all through college. It survived countless two-hour weekend drives home, hot Oklahoma summers, and brutal winters. But even that car couldn’t survive me and my ignorance. If you’ve heard the podcast, you’re thinking, “What does your clunker have to do with anticipatory leadership?” If you haven’t heard the podcast you’re probably wondering, “What’s anticipatory leadership?” Hold tight.
Back to my Acura. Cars need at least two fluids to keep running: gasoline and motor oil. As a poor college kid, I could usually only afford one. Guess which one I picked! There was a check-engine light that stayed lit on my dash for a long, long time. My car was begging for oil, but I became really talented at ignoring the warning signs. I might have been too talented, because one day that little problem—the check engine light—became a big problem: the motor was completely shot. I needed to buy a new car.
Motor failure is a predictable problem. If you own a car and you drive it every day, you’ll need to maintain the engine to keep it running. You’ll need to change the oil—otherwise, you’re going to end up stranded when your small problem becomes a big one. I tried to avoid my small problem for as long as I could, but suddenly it became a huge problem. This is where anticipatory leadership comes in.
What small problem do you see in your life? What’s a warning sign you’re ignoring? How can you anticipate the issues this problem could create and take the lead in doing something about it? Maybe it’s not a personal issue. Maybe it’s business issue or a financial issue.
Whether you’re avoiding a difficult conversation with someone at work, giving in to a harmful habit, or trying to fill an emptiness in your life with things that fade away—eventually, your small problem will get bigger. The conversation will become even tougher. The habit will be harder to kick. The hole will just grow larger. Unless, of course, you solve it now.
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17 ESV
Do something about it. Change your oil! Don’t wait until everything blows up. Trust me.
Don’t ignore small problems. Solve them before they become huge problems. If you’re a leader (you are) and you want to be proactive in solving small problems early, I encourage you to go check out Pastor Craig’s latest podcast, Anticipatory Leadership.