It wasn’t supposed to rain. At least that was what my weather app told me. It had started out as a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid 60’s rising up to a gorgeous 82 degrees. Perfect. Until it wasn’t.
In a matter of minutes everything changed. First the wind seemed to change directions. It actually felt good. Then a few clouds showed up. Light clouds turning a little darker and then darker still. At this point I begin to wonder, “am I in for something I haven’t planned for?” Ten minutes later, I know it’s coming. Another ten minutes has me moving to shelter.
It wasn’t supposed to rain.
One big challenge for any leader is the invisible force of momentum. It can be called a force simply because it has all kinds of power to make or break forward movement, and it can shift at any moment. Unfortunately, it can shift like an unexpected storm. Maybe you have been in a situation where things are progressing and you look ahead and see clear skies only to begin to feel the wind change. It can leave you muttering “it wasn’t supposed to rain.”
Momentum. One thing every leader wants to do is BUILD MOMENTUM.
It’s a big deal.
In our work with leaders we have learned a lot about momentum. One common mistake is the temptation to blame or explain the lack of momentum due to outside forces. Maybe you have fallen prey to these kind of explanations:
- People are too inconsistent in their involvement. How can we build momentum when people aren’t committed?
- I have too many expectations put upon me. How can we build momentum when I have so many responsibilities?
- If we just had more resources. How can we build momentum without cash flow?
- My leaders aren’t doing what we need them to do. How can we build momentum when our leaders aren’t trained to lead?
These thoughts, although often true, are not the reason we don’t build momentum. The biggest challenge to building momentum is in the choices that executive leaders make.
Momentum is built from the priorities we choose.
What are the choices we can make that will build momentum?
Over the next several articles, we will look at three necessary choices. But for now, here are three preliminary necessities for choosing priorities.
- Choose something!
A month ago, I looked at my general to-do list. There are a variety of tools I use to help me follow through, ranging from an on-line calendar, to a full focus planner, to a monthly list of priorities and tasks. As I looked at my list, the alarms started to go off in my head. It was like I suddenly felt the wind shift and the clouds darken. All the tasks blended together and the calls I needed to make were thrown in with the responsibilities I had. As I looked at the list, I realized that everything had become a priority to me; and if everything is a priority than nothing is a priority.
That’s when I realized, I’d rather choose poorly and learn from it than leave it all as the same priority. If everything seems equally important to you, do yourself a favor. Choose something!
- Choose with intensity
A second necessity for selecting your priorities is to examine and build your energy on whatever you choose. In his book EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey tells us that we can be focused on only a few things, and that we can be focused with intensity on even fewer. In his view, Momentum has a formula:
Fi/T (G) = M
Focused intensity over time multiplied by the God factor (prayer) equals momentum.
When we choose priorities we also choose what we will go after with energy. What is it that requires our best energy, our intensity?
- Choose in context of the bigger picture
Lastly, the choices we need to make to build momentum fit into our purpose. Momentum doesn’t come out of left field. It is part of a bigger picture.
What is your mission?
What are you called to do in this season that builds upon who you already are and the opportunities you have?
All too often leaders are choosing new priorities that don’t fit with the purpose of why their church or organization exists. Building momentum doesn’t come from starting over. That’s called change. Momentum comes from selecting priorities that allow the mission to be accomplished.
Choosing priorities will help you build momentum. It is necessary to be willing to choose something specific, choose with intensity, and to choose priorities that fit with our purpose. But what does a leader choose in order to build momentum? Our next three articles will give very specific and critical priorities. In the meantime, carry an umbrella. I know it’s not supposed to rain, but you never know.
Need ideas on aligning priorities? Intentional Impact can help. Contact us today to get started.
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Let me know how you deal with priorities in the comment fields below.