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Friday, December 20, 2013

It's Time to Plan

Followers need leaders to effectively plan for them. When facing life and death situations, the necessity is painfully obvious. But even when the consequences aren’t as serious, the need is just as great. Leaders who plan well do even more than control the direction in which their people travel. They see the whole trip in their minds before they leave. They have a vision for their destination, they understand what it will take to get there, they know who’ll they’ll need on their team to be successful, and they recognize the obstacles long before they appear on the horizon. A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see. The larger the organization, the more clearly the leader has to see far ahead. That’s because sheer size makes midcourse corrections more difficult. And if there are errors, many more people are affected than when you are traveling alone or with only a few people. The Titanic is an excellent example. Before leaders take people on a journey, they must go through a process to give the trip the best chance of being a success: 1. They draw on past experience. 2. They listen to what others have to say (especially those who have traveled the journey before them). 3. They examine the conditions before making commitments. 4. They make sure their conclusions represent both faith and fact. They draw on past experience: Every past success and failure can be a source of information and wisdom – if you allow it to be. Successes teach you about yourself and what you’re capable of doing with your particular gifts and talents. Failures show what kinds of wrong assumptions you’ve made and where your methods are flawed. If you fail to learn from your mistakes, you’re going to fail again and again. That’s why effective leaders start with experience. They listen to what others have to say: No matter how much you learn from the past, it will never tell you all your need to know for the present and the future. That’s why the best leaders gather information from many sources. They get ideas from members of their leadership team. They talk to the people in their organization to find out what’s happening on the grass-roots level. And they spend time with leaders from outside the organization who can mentor and advise them. They examine the conditions before making commitments: Despite their often excellent intuition, before effective leaders make commitments that are going to impact their people, they take stock and thoroughly think things through. They count the cost before making commitments for themselves and others. They make sure their conclusions represent both faith and fact: An effective leader must possess a positive attitude. They’ve got to have faith that they can take their people all the way to the destination. If they can’t confidently make the trip in their own mind, they’re not going to make it in real life. On the other hand, they also have to be able to see the facts realistically. They can’t minimize obstacles or rationalize their challenges. If they don’t go in with eyes wide open, they’re going to get blind-sided. Realistic leaders are objective enough to minimize illusions. They understand that self-deception can cost them their vision. Sometimes it’s difficult balancing optimism and realism, intuition and planning, faith and fact. But that’s what it takes to be an effective leader. The secret to the Principle of Planning is preparation. Preparation conveys confidence and trust to people. The following acrostic may be helpful: PLAN AHEAD. P = Predetermine a course of action. L = Lay out your goals. A = Adjust your priorities. N = Notify (communicate with) key personnel. A = Allow time for acceptance. H = Head into action. E = Expect problems (and plan for contingencies). A = Always point to the future vision (and the successes along the way). D = Daily review your plan. The major barriers to successful planning are fear of change, ignorance, uncertainty about the future, and lack of imagination. The secret to overcoming these barriers is preparation. When leaders prepare well, they convey confidence and trust. Lack of preparation has the opposite effect. Leaders who are good navigators are capable of taking their people just about anywhere. It’s not the size of the project that determines its acceptance, support, and success. It’s the size of the leader. Do you struggle with proper planning? Truth@Life can help. Call 248-396-6255 or email me at curtis.songer@gmail.com for a FREE consultation. For more info on help I can provide check out http://truthatlife.com/

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