In the vernacular of the day, strategic planning is associated with Boards, fund raising, and programs. Generally a needs assessment is conducted and becomes the basis for and underpinning of decisions that will be made by any team or organization. Out of the assessment, a realistic strategic plan is formulated.
Truth be told, in today’s world we need to operate much more in the realm of strategic thinking. Those on the front lines, who have the most current and accurate information about any situation, are being entrusted with decisions that will impact their sphere. Whereas the military in days of yore fought and won battles from a command center, today’s warfare requires knowledgeable, loyal and capable thinkers who can and do make decisions right on the front lines. Rather than one approach or the other as in strategic planning, strategic thinking offers the flexibility to pull from a cadre of possible implementations depending on the need at the moment. This is not a ready, fire, aim approach. Strategic thinking is done in context and with the values and mission understood. With that in mind, the decisions are made ethically and consonant with the overarching vision and goals of any group.
Whether strategic planning or strategic thinking, the big idea is to be prepared and to create a future based on the present, honoring the past and impacting the future.
Organizations are not the only entities that must be strategic. We must be strategic about our lives. Where you plan to head in the future, what dreams and longings lay beneath the surface of your exterior person, what habits and character traits you want to be known for must be strategically thought out now. Who or what do you need in terms of resources? What accountability and evaluative tools will you put in place? What will guide or inform your choices?
Jack McDowell is our leader spotlighted for this month. I just returned from a two hour visit with him and can assure you that this man lives his life strategically. He has also helped countless others do the same and successfully aided many communities raise monies in capital campaigns. Be sure to read the first draft of an article entitled That Special Person found under the leader spotlight section of our website. Additionally, we have updated our book reviews, leadership lessons and other various sections around the theme strategic planning.
Please feel free to give us your feedback. We read it and take it to heart!
God be with you in this wonderful season of Lent. We are reminded of God’s “strategic plan” for ending evil and establishing His Kingdom of righteousness, peace and love!