Book Review: How To Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, by Susan Beaumont
By PHIL INGLIS
In the middle of 2018, I had the privilege to be seconded to The Salvation Army Australia One Project team as a frontline liaison. For a very short time, I had a front-row seat to one of the largest not-for-profit mergers in Australia.
In December, it was then announced that the wedding of The Salvation Army Southern Territory and Eastern Territory was now complete. But like every wedding, it just marks the beginning, the true challenge of the merger now began.
Thousands of staff using hundreds of different systems, guided by dozens of different policies within two very distinct cultures, began to come together. To say that it has been chaotic is an understatement. Then, into this already challenging environment, a virus broke out that turned the world on its head.
So, we have wrestled with this coming together through lockdown, illness, Zoom meetings, appointment changes, daily health briefings, dwindling attendance numbers, increased support requests and a lot of uncertainty.
Over the past few months, I have been reading How To Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, by Susan Beaumont. Published in 2019, I don’t think a better book could have been published at a better time to better address our current reality.
Beaumont labels a state such as ours as a ‘liminal’ space, an in-between space, it exists between the old and the new. We have left the old but, in many areas, yet to see what the ‘new’ might look like.
This liminal space is usually accompanied by worry, anxiety, confusion, and a certain ‘directionlessness’ (not sure this is a word, but I like it). As Beaumont fleshes out this concept in her book, she gives solid advice on specific practices and disciplines we can focus on as Salvationists at this time – practices of meditation, prayer and corporate discernment.
I have taken months (so far) to read this book because I have found myself re-reading it over and over again as I encounter new stories of people wrestling in this space. I encourage everyone to get a hold of it and read it – and find in it hope for your family, your church and your Salvation Army.
Leadership Podcast Series
Major Bryce Davies has recorded a special 7-part podcast series with Commissioner Miriam Gluyas and Colonel Winsome Merrett, with each episode delving into the topics covered in the book How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going.
For more information on the podcast series, click here