“You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” ~ Yogi Berra
There are times when everything lines up perfectly and goes exactly as planned. I usually get nervous when that happens! Think about it, most of the challenges we face as leaders require us not only to solve complex issues, but to do so by involving people. There is no way to guarantee that even a well-designed project will unfold just as planned. I’ve often said “everything works on paper.” A wise approach for leaders is to always be well prepared, but also be very flexible and teachable in the process. Remember, things don’t always go as planned. Here’s what King Solomon had to say about this:
Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail. (Proverbs 19:20-21 NLT)
In order to do anything with excellence or achieve success, you must do your homework and be well prepared. Sometimes that preparation actually comes as the result of life lessons learned from not preparing well in the past. We tend to learn more from our failures than we do from our successes.
Have you ever noticed how dynamic and unpredictable life situations can be from one day to the next? There have been many occasions in which I’ve approached a problem as if it was tic-tac-toe only to discover it’s more like Rubik’s Cube! Some projects can look simple until we start working them. It’s only then that we discover a hidden dimension of complexity. We find ourselves having to take a step back to adjust both our plans and our expectations. In times like this, we need to seek wisdom.
Who are your wise counselors? Can you name them? We need to plan well but learn to hold our best plans loosely enough in order to always be ready to yield and adjust to God’s better plan. Plan like it all depends on you but execute your plan realizing it all depends on God. He will work in your plans, through your plans and in spite of your plans, to accomplish His purpose. We only truly accomplish the best when our plans line up with His plans and purpose for our lives.
As a Christian leader, commit your plans to the Lord today. Seek wisdom through wise counsel and as you move forward, expect problems. Don’t let problems catch you by surprise, be ready for them. No matter how detailed and well-designed your plans are, always remain flexible and teachable as you begin to implement them.
Bring key people to the table in the planning process. Think both of those who will provide wisdom, knowledge and experience as well as those you can mentor in this approach. Take time today to engage your team members in effective planning that includes both being prepared and being flexible.