Have you ever participated in a team building survival exercise? You are given a scenario in which you are either stranded on an island, lost in a forest or find yourself in the aftermath of a natural disaster. The facilitator describes your situation and particular survival challenges, and then you are given a list of items that are available to you. You and your team are charged with putting the list in the right order to give you the best chance for survival. The objective is to get your team to agree on the most important things and put those at the top of your list. This simple exercise always generates a lot of debate among the team members as they try to reach agreement about what those top things should be. From my various survival exercise experiences; water, food and shelter seem to always find a place near the top of the list.
Leadership responsibilities can be very challenging and even overwhelming at times. There have been days, and there will be more days, where you feel like you just need to survive. King Solomon has some great advice for leaders about how to go for more than survival by having the right focus and resources. Here are the three things he recommends we have at the top of our list:
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3-4)
Wisdom, understanding and knowledge are to a leader what water, food and shelter are to someone trying to survive. Wisdom, understanding and knowledge give life, hope and confidence to the leader. These three things should always be at the top of your list. The key to both survival and leadership success is to be intentional about doing the most important things first.
Leaders are learners. Leaders learn from reading books, going to seminars, talking with other leaders and reflecting on their past successes and failures. How intentional are you about growing in wisdom, understanding and knowledge? This requires focus and discipline. Just as in the survivor scenario, you have to establish a survival plan. I’d like to challenge you today to plan not only for survival but for success. What is the big goal you’ve been thinking about? If you haven’t done so already, begin moving in that direction today by making an intentional plan to pursue wisdom, understanding and knowledge to help you achieve your goal. By acquiring these three things, you will become much more than just a survivor. You will be a winner!
“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”
~ Abraham Lincoln