A good plan that can’t be changed is a bad plan. If you’re inflexible you’re going to find executing a plan to be nearly impossible. No matter how much preparation you put into it there are still going to be unforeseen obstacles. You may find you have the wrong leader executing the plan. You may have underestimated the resources required to execute the plan. Or you may overestimate the pace at which the plan can be properly executed.
But make no mistake about it; planning is the key to flexibility in leadership.
Without it you become stuck on the treadmill of what’s urgent instead of what’s important or worse the organization is constantly trying to change direction to keep up with the short attention span of an entrepreneurial leader.
Planning affords you the opportunity to be flexible
When you plan your work and work your plan you position yourself and the organization you’re leading to lead from a position of strength instead of weakness. Leading from this position of strength affords you the opportunity to be flexible. Organizations that don’t plan well create the illusion of flexibility and an “organic process,” while the reality is they’re usually struggling just to keep their heads above water.
Planning creates margin for innovation
Innovation requires the right environment to take place. It takes smart people, an infusion of resources, time, the right amount of pressure, and a problem to solve. Organizations that don’t plan well don’t have the time, resources, or people to allocate towards innovation because they’re always running to the next thing or trying to stay afloat.
Planning allows you to respond to opportunities
Preparation for contingencies is a part of good planning. Providing the people in your organization a clear picture of the future and a plan to get there actually provides you the luxury to leverage and take advantage of opportunities when they come along because you can filter each opportunity through the lens of the destination and the plan. Does the opportunity fit our destination? Does this opportunity speed up our plan?
Few churches have a great planning process. Most don’t even have a good planning process, if they have a process at all. I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger priority. Planning is certainly biblical. I don’t find many pastors who would really take aim at that fact. You’d have to throw out a lot of Proverbs, if you decided to.
Everyone likes to talk about stewardship and the stewardship of Kingdom resources, which involves a lot of wisdom and planning. So, if I have to put it in this context, learning a great planning process is good stewardship of Kingdom resources.
At The Unstuck Group we’ve been helping churches with strategic planning for quite a few years now, and we’ve seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t. We believe in the process we use. It’s a proven process that produces results. You should really check it out!