December 2021- February 2022
We Need Each Other
The column "Leadership Whiteboard" provides a short visual leadership coaching moment. It introduces and explains a new sketch in each issue, provides leadership coaching for further development, and shares a leadership quote and recommended book.
Planning and Collaborating
Ben Franklin warned, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” John Buckley softened those words with, “Nobody plans to fail; they just fail to plan.”
Prophetic warnings apply to so many areas: retirement, parenting, trips, projects, lessons, and sermons. Imagine going on a long trip. The distance determines how accurate you need to be with packing. If traveling to the next town, forgetting something has fewer consequences than for a cross-country or international trip. As a leader, your ability to plan adds credibility to your vision casting. The difference between leaders and dreamers is the capacity to plan and execute big goals.
To keep you from being a dreamer no one takes seriously, consider the benefits, methods, and timelines for planning. Planners make sure not to overlook items that could sabotage the success of a project. Effective planners include diverse minds to increase the breadth of ideas, buy-in, and quality. Also, more minds evaluate risk more effectively. Collaboration ensures greater adoption rates. In contrast, authoritarian plans devalue the people around you, most of whom will soon lose passion. Collaborative planning offers the most effective means of vision casting.
Numerous methods aid in collaborative planning: meetings, polling, and surveys. Create a platform that solicits other people’s ideas, thoughts, and expertise. Don’t just involve others and hope to gain agreement. Followers would rather you simply dictate orders rather than waste their time making suggestions when they know you will not change your plans. However, without follower buy-in, you may need to ask if you are leading or dictating. Adding input from other people takes more time in the planning process, and, when leaders skip that step, the adoption rate is lower.
What trips up most leaders, other than authoritarian style, is not planning far enough ahead. The ratio rule of thumb is 4 to 1: 80% preparation and 20% execution.
The military teaches the backward planning model. Envision what a successful outcome looks like and work backward from implementation day to the present. How long should lead times or backward plans take? Size, moving parts, duration, and people determine how far out planning should begin. State-wide projects or events take longer to plan than a local church activity, and a national initiative takes even longer. More churches or organizations included or attending requires more lead time. Many great ideas fail because planning is done too close to an event.
Pursuing God’s plans usually involves others. Don’t pretend to be the only gifted one in the group. Listen. The Bible often speaks of counsel; we should never forget the importance of listening, collaborating, and then planning effectively.