In an article by John Maxwell, he writes about Louis and Auguste Lumiere who in 1895 “patented the cinematograph, an all-in-one film camera, projector, and printer. With the use of their invention, the two Frenchmen created the concept of a motion picture. Their public screening in March 1895 was history’s first. Later on that year the Lumieres reached another milestone, as a showing of their work became the earliest instance of an audience paying admission to watch a film.

Initially the brothers made a splash, producing thousands of short films in a span of less than two years. . . . However, despite their pioneering work in cinematography, the brothers failed to foresee the broad appeal of motion pictures. Within five years, the Lumieres had given up filmmaking to return to their previous work developing still photographs.

“The cinema is an invention without a future,” Louis Lumiere allegedly remarked.

For all of their inventiveness, the Lumiere’s demonstrated a surprising lack of vision. Shortly after they stopped making films, the movie industry exploded. Crowds have been flocking to the theaters ever since. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, U.S. box offices took in 9.79 billion dollars in 2008.

The Lumieres missed out on the benefits of vision, but you don’t have to. As a leader, you can keep sight of your vision and use it to influence others by following the four practices of a visionary leader.

Realize that things will change.

When Sam Warner approached his brother Harry with the idea of adding sound to films made by Warner Bros. Pictures, . . . Harry fought vehemently against incorporating sound into the studio’s pictures, and only yielded to his brother’s suggestion with Warner Bros. on the brink of financial ruin. Having added audio, the Warners’ talkie films (movies with sound) took off, revolutionizing the way movies were produced and bringing a windfall of profits for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Consider other people’s perspective

Henry Ford obstinately refused to adjust his assembly process to suit the desire of consumers to choose the color of their automobiles. “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” Ford stubbornly insisted. Within a few years, Ford Motor Company’s market share had plummeted as drivers bought from manufacturers that catered to their color preferences.

Display courage when others are insecure

Harriet Tubman conducted daring journeys into the South to rescue slaves and escort them to freedom in the North via the “Underground Railroad.” At times, the slaves she had freed would fear capture and would want to go back. However, Harriet Tubman had a “no return” policy. Whenever an escaped slave threatened to turn around, she would pull out a firearm and give the ultimatum, “Be free or die.” Needless to say, she had no trouble convincing her “passengers” to stay the course.

Harriet Tubman’s vision of freedom overrode her concern for the consequences of being caught. . . . In total, Tubman helped more than 300 slaves gain their freedom, risking her life on 19 secretive voyages into the South.

Prepare today to win tomorrow

John Wooden achieved unparalleled success in the coaching profession, winning 10 NCAA basketball titles in 12 years, including seven consecutively. His teams also won an astonishing 88 games in a row at one point. Amazingly, for all his victories, Coach Wooden never spoke to his teams in terms of winning or losing. Instead, he focused his concentration on maximizing his players’ potential and coaxing their best effort.

In his words, “How you run the race-your planning, preparation, practice, and performance-counts for everything. Winning or losing is a byproduct, and aftereffect of that effort.” In Coach Wooden’s world, success was measured by the amount of sweat put forth in practice rather than by the numbers showing on the scoreboard after a game.” (Read the full article)


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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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