Reality testing, the ability to remain objective and to hold a realistic view of a situation, is a key trait of a servant-leader. Evaluating anything from a business plan to a relationship without being clouded by emotion is crucial to our survival. When we know what is realistically attainable, we can work actively toward our goals with a sense of grounded purpose. The challenge for the servant-leader, who tends to be idealistic and optimistic, is to balance her or his dream with a sense of objectivity. When using the servant-leader lens, we emphasize brainstorming and seeing the potential in a person or scenario. Using a method known as OMR, an acronym for Outcomes-Methods-Resources and pronounced “Omer,” can help the servant-leader keep the dream alive while simultaneously testing it against reality. We start by stating our intended outcomes, our big-picture goals. Then we discuss the methods by which we might achieve that goal, and then finally we analyze the resources we actually have available. The order in which we approach this process is crucial: a dream will die if we start by saying, “We don’t have that in the budget.” That might be true, but attacking the problem backwards will most likely permit a creative solution to emerge. This way, the dream and reality can coexist.
President, The Gabriel Center