December 31, 2012
Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel, described a Strategic Inflection Point (SIP) as "an event that changes the way we think and act." It is a particular time when a business decides it needs to make important changes in order to stay competitive.
Grove says that these moments tend to arise following a long period of unbroken success. They are more than just change – because, today, change is constant. Instead, these occasions compare to change as a Class VI rapid relates to a river: the kind of deadly and turbulent rapids that professional boatmen approach as potentially life threatening. The conditions surrounding a Strategic Inflection Point can be deemed chaotic; they seldom announce themselves. If taken as typical disruptions, they can be fatal; if managed well, they offer the chance for winning breakthroughs.
Sounds a little office-centric, on a day devoted to getting ready for the evening celebration, doesn’t it? I want to challenge you to find some time for personal reflection while in the midst of the New Year merriment – or, mayhem! Businesses have come to understand the potential of SIPs; with some perspective, you’ll see that your life thrives when you are transformed by SIPs.
There is significant difference between a Strategic Inflection Point and the incremental change that characterizes most of our days. SIPs are “game-changers;” they mark the occasion when a shift in the trend line is unmistakable.
In our culture, SIPs create history. The Shot Heard ‘Round the World at Lexington Green, in 1775; Pearl Harbor, in 1941; the Twin Towers, in 2001; the election of our first non-white president in 2008; the introduction of any new Apple device… all are examples of cultural SIPs. The trend line shifts at SIPs: what follows may rise or fall, but the movements thereafter are incremental.
In our lives, SIPs are similarly significant. The day your parents divorced; the summer when you left home for college… and never returned; the courtship and marriage to your lifetime partner; the process that culminated in your decision to align with the Lord Jesus and His redemption: those are all game-changers in their own right. Life following those turning points becomes importantly incremental. But without the SIPs, incrementalism can simply be repetitive and life becomes increasingly flat.
When was your last Strategic Inflection Point? Each of your significant life domains – your Personal core, your Family contingent, your Professional category and your Kingdom citizenship – warrants consideration for SIPs… and the following incremental progression that comes from it. Consider those four slices of your life’s pie – Personal, Family, Professional, Kingdom – and think SIP: when was the last transformative experience, in each… and how are your daily efforts in each category building on the redirection that was found in the SIP?
This is the last day of 2012; you stand on the threshold of a New Year. Here’s my challenge, with 12 fresh months stretched before you: what are you doing to create a breakthrough – in one or more of your four domains – in the coming year? How could your life be energized by the proactive pursuit of a transformative shift in an important portion of your life?
The Master’s Program exists to create an environment wherein Christian leaders – men and women – can experience Strategic Inflection Points in all four of life’s domains, most importantly their Kingdom life, by exploring, exposing and exploiting their Kingdom Calling. And, then, this Point of View comes to you every Monday to assist in progression toward your life potential, in all four domains.
My retrospective question, for 2012: have I helped people like you to experience SIPs? And, am I helping them to build on those breakthroughs, to move toward their lifetime potential to change their world and build God’s Kingdom? I have no way to measure my year… without measuring yours.