Creative Leadership

Don’t Always Wait for the Plans

One of the most frustrating challenges about branding or re-branding a church, ministry, or non-profit is finding organizations who are paralyzed with fear, waiting for more information. They won’t make a move unless they hear from another focus group, report, or demographic profile. I love research and data, but sometimes, we learn to depend on it too much, and as a result, we lose the energy, innovation, and originality we need right now.

During World War II, General Douglas MacArthur desperately needed to get his troops across a river, but he was facing a destroyed bridge. Knowing there weren’t many options, the general called on one of his most determined engineers.

“How long will it take to build a bridge across this river?”
“Three days” the engineer told him.
“Good,” snapped General MacArthur. “Have your draftsmen start drawing up the plans right away”.
Three days later the General sent for his engineer and asked how the bridge was coming along.
“It’s all done. You can send the troops across whenever you’re ready – as long we don’t have to wait for the plans. They ain’t done yet!”

Sometimes you can’t always wait for the plans — you just have to act. Too often we want to over-think the challenge. In those situations, don’t wait. Put yourself in a position to achieve your objective. If you want to be a singer, don’t wait for the best opportunity, or to finish school, or your “big break” – go sing. Sing in the shower, sing for your friends, sing in the choir, sing for free. As Nike’s tagline says, “Just do it!”

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5 Comments

  1. The paralysis of analysis …. Often times Churches and Organizations hide behind the need to pray, the need to study, the need to understand better, the need for whatever is convenient at the time that they can cite ro demonstrate "good Stewardship." 

    In the end sometimes they're simply afraid to act or unwilling to take a risk.

    The trick is knowing what approach is needed at the time, because all those elements are at times wise to wait upon.  God's guidance is usually in the process, not a blueprint laying out the results.  We have just enough light for the next step and no light for the one after that until we're walking ……

  2. Good post, in fact, today we are meeting with MetaLeap for phase 2 of the branding process.  They have moved forward on the exact timetable that they mapped out – I am so glad that they are quarterbacking this entire process – I of course continue to look forward to the outcome.

  3. This is one of the core messages of my life — just get it done!

    I know a mid-level manager at a ministry who says multiple times in every meeting: "Good idea. Now can you go validate that?" Or, "The next step is to validate all the ideas we've talked about today." I find this inane and insulting to everyone in the room. Frankly, the motivation seems to be CYA — never a good reason to waste time we could be spending meeting other peoples' needs.

    Sure, let's take some time to pool our collective knowledge, have some healthy conflict, and come up with a plan. But once we know what to do, let's not put on the brakes to go do more research.

    Because once the research is in, we can still disagree about that. Research doesn't give you an action plan, only more data.

    Thanks, Phil!

    -josh

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