IBEC Board member, Dave Kier, regularly encourages his clients with words of wisdom like this Leadership Tip #10. As I write this, Dave is again in Zimbabwe and Zambia, building a feed plant to help feed a nation, all for the glory of God.
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures
Sometimes a strength can be a weakness. My nature is to look ahead, thus I think of where we are going and how what we do today will impact us in the future. I naturally think of what if we have grand success or what if we have minimal success, and what must we do in either case. I study societal, industrial, and spiritual trends, and think of how to navigate through or with them. When someone comes up with a goal, I think of how they are going to reach their goal and what it will take; then I think of how to measure progress. The new maps on our our cell phones and in our vehicles frustrate me, because they don’t show the big picture of the route to take. It’s just the way I am.
I know this drives some people crazy who tend to take things as they come, but I am not wired to be a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of guy. Sometimes, I wish I were. It takes all kinds to make an organization. Where I tend to want to get the job done right before taking on another project, others will jump before I think they are ready. Then, to really confuse people, there are times when I quickly see the big picture and have a good idea of what another project or venture would do for us, so I will surprise some and jump into it. I must be patient as I realize I can also frustrate others.
As I read God’s spoken word written for us, I see planning, purpose, and methods. When Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created…”, all-knowing God didn’t haphazardly plop one planet here and another there. He didn’t create the giraffe and then say to Himself, “What if I tweaked the next one a bit to see what happens?” I see purpose and intentionality. When He told Abraham he would become a great nation, but first his descendants had to stay in Egypt 400 years before they entered the Promised Land, God had a plan and a purpose.
God told Moses how to organize leadership for worship, and He was very detailed as all pointed to Christ. Paul told the people of Athens that “He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation (Acts 17:26)”. God knew there would be the nations and the people groups we have today. Think about it, it’s not by random chance you are where you are. God has a purpose for you where you are.
Every organization must have a purpose and a plan. This too takes faith. Every leader must have the long look, considering the “what if’s”. What if we are famously successful and take off quickly (and what does success look like) or what if we struggle coming out of the gate? When I began working with BAM businesses, I quickly noticed that many didn’t assume success, and thus, weren’t prepared for it. The result was chaos, as they constantly were striving to catch up with finances, people, and depending on the business – inputs. Often, the leader became the greatest obstacle.
The old saying is true that if you don’t know where you are going, you won’t get there. Peter Drucker said one of the most important tasks of the executive, or senior leader(s), is to devote time to think … to devote time to get out of the workflow and go for a walk asking the Lord to give you wisdom and understanding. To ask Him to open your eyes to see the big picture, and to open and close doors of opportunity. We too often get so caught up in the issues of work, that we don’t step back to take a long look at the whole picture as it is and as it is unfolding.
Regardless of your position in the organization, a skill you must constantly refine is developing the long look. You may not be “wired” to look deeply, but you must look ahead. Otherwise, you and your group will constantly be reacting as you catch up with finances, people, and assets. A leader leads but must know where he/she is leading the organization. This too takes great faith.
- As you look ahead for your organization and/or department, what does the future look like?
- What is the organization’s potential, and what does it take to maximize it?
- How much uninterrupted time do you spend with God studying His word, praising Him for His blessings, and asking for wisdom?