Darcy and I slowly meandered around the IKEA store admiring, like the hundreds of shoppers meandering the same path with us, the possibilities of what a home could look like. As I did so, I wondered about why IKEA is so popular and why, unlike the vast majority of furniture stores, it’s difficult to leave an IKEA store without buying a POÄNG chair, a pastry brush, or a rug.
The power of IKEA is that they invite people to be inspired and imagine possibilities. Other furniture stores place furniture around the store, staging them in particular ways, but in the end of the day we all feel like we're walking into a store with furniture. I've never been motivated to buy anything from a furniture store unless I went into it expressly looking for a particular item. I walk into IKEA and walk out with a cart full of items.
IKEA shoppers are willing to change the environments of their homes simply because they've experienced the possibility of what could be.
IKEA stores are places, according to IKEA itself, "where the IKEA concept comes to life.” Each store is designed to offer visitors an opportunity to “Touch. Try. Explore. Dream!” It is a place where visitors “actually can go from inspiration to involvement by getting inspiration from solutions in the store…They are welcome to sit, lie down, open and close drawers and cabinets, pretend to cook, sleep or watch TV” (www.ikea.com).
IKEA activates one of the basic human desires...a vision for change. They paint the picture of a better, more modern home, and a more excellent life. Compelling vision of the future motivates people to move into that future, especially if they can see themselves in it and can contribute meaningfully toward it.
Proverbs reminds us, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (29:18).
Churches historically are adverse to change. We might even be frustrated by the resistance to change we've experienced as a leader. The people we serve might be resistant to change because they can't see what could be. They cannot imagine the possibility of a better and brighter future.
Your job as a leader is to paint the picture of a brilliant future for the people you lead. When you do so, the people will respond by moving into the future with you. They will find a way to contribute toward the vision. Without a vision for the future, the people will perish in place of boredom. Activity will perish. Energy will dissipate. And the organization will stagnate.
Take a note out of IKEA's playbook. Paint a brilliant picture of the future and invite people to participate in it.