There’s a number of people and companies that deal with “strategy” – “Strategic Planning, Strategy Consultants, and more. But what is it, and does it really matter? The word came into the English language around 1810, and by contrast, “tactics” came into use 200 years earlier. People had discussed “tactics,” but it wasn’t until 1810 that Carl Von Clausewitz began using it in battle. It began with 3 basic steps:
1) Figure out where you are (Point A).
2) Decide where you want to be (Point B).
3) Create a plan to get from A to B.
Incredibly simple, but it’s surprising how few people – particularly in media actually take the time to consider those steps and come up with the best solution. If you’re involved in communicating a message, then you need to understand how it works.
Here’s why it matters: Having a plan to reach your audience with the right message is critical. Whatever the challenge is that you’re facing – the strategy (or lack of it) that got you in this sorry situation, won’t be the same strategy that gets you out. I’ve used the quote before on this blog: “When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.”
But I’m shocked at the number of people that just keep doing the same thing year after year as if the direction of the ministry, audience numbers, response, income – whatever, will magically change. But getting from point A to point B doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through a well thought out plan.
And by the way – when it comes to churches – changing graphics, cool music, lighting effects, or dumping the choir robes isn’t a strategy. That’s just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. You need a fundamental re-think of what story your church or ministry is trying to tell, what that means to your audience, how to connect with that audience, and why it’s absolutely urgent they respond right now.
Figure it out, because your future may be hanging on it.