Thursday, January 19, 2012

Leading and Lagging Indicators

There are two types of health indicators both in your life and organization - Leading and Lagging.

When you look at a fruit tree that is no longer producing fruit, obviously its fruitlessness is a lagging indicator that the tree is dying. Long before the tree died... it was receiving no water, missing sunshine, and being neglected by some aloof gardener... all of which are lagging indicators.

This principle holds true in your marriage- before you want to call it quits and give up on your spouse... there are a series of decisions & moments of neglect which have produced disease in your relationship. Before you find yourself $60,000 in credit card debt there were many of leading indicators (poor spending and no saving) that something was wrong. Before you get fired at work, there are (or should be) a series of indicators that something is not right. Before a church starts to decline, there are a series of attitudes and poor decisions which lead to its demise.

I often find myself giving too much attention to lagging indicators of health and not enough attention to the leading indicators that influence health. I find that in my marriage if I will focus on keeping things clear, loving my wife sacrificially, investing in her by going on dates, etc... the results will take care of themselves. I find that when I lead the charge with our church by focusing on reaching people who are not currently experiencing God's love, structure to receive growth as God sends, keep a pulse on our culture and stay ahead of the curve with major decisions... The results take care of themselves.

Don't get me wrong, lagging indicators are important. God will hold you responsible for the fruitfulness or fruitlessness of your life, but you don't get more fruit by spending all your time counting the number of apples on your tree. You get more fruit by planting more seeds, watering, pruning and then harvesting.

This principle is taking me to a higher level of leading and living... And resulting in a greater level of fruitfulness in my life.

PS, There is an addendum to this principle. If something is diseased you won't get fruit before you get rid of the sickness. Give all your energy to getting rid of the disease whatever that means.