Leaders See Ahead

How far can you see? The problems of leadership are not new.

Nehemiah, a prophet in the Old Testament, could see a problem: the need to rebuild the defensive wall around Jerusalem. He could even see the solution. In fact, he saw both the problem and the solution without ever visiting Jerusalem itself. That’s why he received approval from the king to rebuild the wall.

That’s an incredible characteristic of a great leader: the ability to discern the problem from a distance, to see the solution, to take the initiative (and the risk), and to complete the task.

Author John Maxwell noted that Nehemiah could:

  • See further than others.
  • See more than others.
  • See what was needed before others could see it.

Before he left for Jerusalem, Nehemiah asked the king for letters of authorisation to gather materials to finish the task. None of Jerusalem’s neighbours wanted the wall rebuilt. Nehemiah knew this and prepared strategies to counter their opposition. He could see the opposition before it materialised. The result was that Nehemiah led a team of people to rebuild the massive city wall in just 52 days! They were able to do it because they had a great leader to navigate for them.


But before the rebuilding process began, Nehemiah:

  1. Identified the problem.
  2. Spent time in prayer.
  3. Approached key influencers.
  4. Assessed the situation.
  5. Met with the people and cast the vision.
  6. Encouraged the people with past successes.
  7. Received buy-in from the people.
  8. Organised the people and got them working.

That’s a great checklist for you and your business as well.

Peter Irvine
Peter is Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, author of ‘Win In Business’ and ‘Building your Business, your People, your Life’ and keynote speaker.

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