Better Results – How You Can Attract Positive Change (Part 2)

Read Time ~5 Minutes

There is a grand difference between the chocolate chip cookies my wife makes and the ones I make. My wife’s are moist, chocolatey, and chunky. Mine are stiff, hard, and taste like baked flour.

To be fair, while my wife actually knows a precise recipe for her chocolate chip cookies, while I only have a general plan for what goes in the bowl. Because of the difference in our plans, our RESULTS are very different. 

Leadership Lesson: Plans improve when we take the time to ask good questions.

As a young leader, my plans were often last-minute, not-thought-through, and lacking in detail. I attempted to make up for these GLARING errors with PASSION. Unfortunately, no amount of passion alone can turn the results of a mediocre plan into the results of an above average plan. 

Just because we make A plan doesn’t mean it will be a GOOD plan. 

When we resist taking the time to ask the following questions of our plans, we’ll likely consign ourselves to less creative, under-informed, short-sighted and mediocre results.

Here are two questions leaders need to ask themselves to ensure that they are actually planning WELL:

1. Am I Moving Too Quickly?

Calamity tends to follow close behind impulsive decisions and shoddy plans that were compiled on the fly. Slow down. Just because we have the POWER to make plans doesn’t mean we should execute them NOW. There must be a TIME to propose options, reject suggestions, think, reflect, and question assumptions.

 It is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries his footsteps errs. – Proverbs 19:2 (NASB95)

In his fantastic book, Great by Choice (which you should read), Jim Collins gives us an incredibly insightful question for evaluating the decisions we’re called upon to make:

Sometimes acting too fast increases risk. Sometimes acting too slow increases risk. The critical question is, “How much time before your risk profile changes?” Do you have seconds? Minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? Decades? The primary difficulty lies not in answering the question but in having the presence of mind to ask the question. (Collins, Great by Choice, pg. 111, emphasis added)

The best plans do not require us to move faster than wisdom.

So let me ask you:​​

Does this have to happen RIGHT NOW or do you actually have more time to REFINE the plan?

There will come a moment when you MUST act, but do you know when that moment is?​

Here are some helpful responses to have in your back pocket when people are urging you to make plans too quickly:

“I need to move slower than this to make a wise plan.”

“If you need an answer right this minute, the answer is ‘No’.

“We’ll see.”

“Maybe.”

“Let me think about this for awhile. I’d rather plan well than plan poorly.”

 

2. Who Else Should Be Around The Table For This Decision?

We can’t do it alone. Isolated planning trends toward frustration, falling, and failure.

To see positive change, we need people to plan WITH.

Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. – Proverbs 11:14 (NASB95)

While they may not be the ones actually MAKING the decision, it is usually best to have multiple best-experts-I-can-get-to-come-around-the-table. An abundance of counselors is still more likely to generate success.

I don’t know about you, but my creativity and originality runs out after the 2nd cup of coffee wears off so I NEED people more creative than myself speaking into any good plan. I’ll just miss it and settle for “Ye olé standby”.

Has everyone who SHOULD weigh in already weighed in?

Who, if you had their help, could bring other realms of experience to bear on this problem?

Bottom line? Being the sole voice in the planning stages often sabotages the very plans we’re focused on, making them less creative and less potent than they ultimately could have been.

Leadership Lesson: Plans improve when we take the time to ask good questions.

What other questions have you found helpful when planning?

Heavenly Father – You are all wise and do not need the counsel of anyone. Such is not the case for me. Instead of racing into situations and opportunities haphazardly, nudge me to slow down and seek the counsel of those You’ve put me around. In Your mercy, lead me to the people and pace I need to make GREAT plans, for your glory.

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Posted on February 26, 2018

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