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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

05 Mar '13

How much can you bite off?

Posted by T.J. Addington in Intentional living

Visionary leaders love to get stuff done. A lot of it. And it you look at vision plans they often look way too big. It looks great but it is not realistic. It might be realistic over a period of years but not in any single year.

Here is a general rule of thumb. No individual or organization can pay attention to more than three to five truly strategic things at any one time. In fact, the fewer "big rocks" you tackle at a time the better off you are - in terms of doing those big rocks well.

Leaders, teams and organizations that choose a few initiatives at a time and do them well get far more done over time than those who in their optimism bite off a whole bunch of initiatives but are left with not being able to pull them off well - if at all. In the end, "less is more."

What matters the most is having clarity around mission, guiding principles, central ministry focus and the culture you are creating and then running a few key initiatives each year to move you closer to those goals. A consistent direction over time combined with a few well chosen ministry initiatives that move you closer to your end goal is a very powerful combination.

These are the kinds of organizations described by Jim Collins in his two books, Good to Great and Built to Last. Classics if you have not read them! And, in my book, Leading From the Sandbox.

Organization wide, our mission with 550 staff members does not drive more than two to three key initiatives each year. I would rather do one or two and drive them through the fabric of ReachGlobal than to try more than that and not have them as part of our DNA. Seen over a period of ten years, those carefully chosen initiatives will produce very powerful results.

That philosophy requires three things from leaders. One, being clear on where we are going long term. Two, choosing the right initiatives to focus on in any one year. And three, great patience (the hard part), knowing that the process will bring huge change and ministry results - intentionally - but over time.

If you eat too much food at a meal you get a stomach ache. If ministries bite off too much they are ineffective - exchanging long term health for unrealized short term gain.

So:
Are you clear on where your ministry is going long term?
Are you choosing with great care the initiatives you are running?
Can you be patient for strong long term results?