Become a Destination Expert
Ever wonder how you got to where you are?
Sometimes that is a harmless question. Many of us have driven our car somewhere and have put the “cognitive automatic pilot” on. We don’t really remember the drive. It just happened. Seemingly arbitrary decisions were made along the way.
If the path is familiar enough, we can get away with it.
In leadership however, the automatic pilot is not a good thing. Unfortunately, there are situations where we just seem to drift, but as a distant mentor of mine used to say, “you never drift into anything good.” Why not? Well, one reason is because there are others who are traveling with us. Others who trust enough to journey with us. If we are not choosing our path with intentionality, faith, and wisdom; we just drift into an unexpected future. Drifting is the ultimate affront to effective leadership.
How do we keep from turning on the automatic pilot and drifting? Our last article challenged us with the reality that decision making is necessary in building momentum. One of those decisions is tied directly to destinations.
I am not the first person to say this, but effective leaders are destination experts. Leaders choose where to go. These choices have three components to them:
- Starting line
As I write this article, I am in dialogue with a Pastor who is in the midst of a merger with another church. Two churches coming together to be, as my friend Jim Tomberlin wrote about, Better Together. So far the conversation has been exciting in dreaming of what can be. More people reached… better use of resources… endless community engagement possibilities. The dialogue is hard, but in many ways fun. Until recently. Forward movement hit a snag. I think the clearest way for me to describe it is that, “things have gotten real.” Defining the destination requires the challenge of getting specific enough to start.
What are our first few moves?
Sometimes we don’t go where we know we need to go because we don’t have all the answers to how we will travel forward. What if we really just need to get started?
Leaders are destination experts. Choosing the target requires the courage to get specific enough to start. What are you waiting for?
- Luggage (or baggage)
Second, as leaders become destination experts there is a need to travel lightly.
Have you ever taken a trip and struggled with how much to pack? This spring I went to Pinehurst, North Carolina on a golf trip. Pinehurst is like Disney for golfers! As I packed my suitcase for my four-day excursion, I had a hard time closing my suitcase. On a whim, I decided to count how many shirts I had packed. Twenty-two! Twenty-two shirts for a trip I was taking with three other guys. Really?
Building momentum comes from leaders making the right choices, and one of those decisions concerns the destination we are headed towards. It requires focus and flexibility. Don’t over pack. Over packing occurs when we know where we are headed but we try to focus on so many other things along the path that we begin to drift and get lost. Instead being a destination expert requires singular priority. Are you taking too much with you along the trail to your destination?
- Finish Line
I am one of those weirdoes who likes to mow his lawn. Fill the mower with gas, mow in straight rows, make sure to edge along the sidewalk, use the blower for the grass clippings; yep that’s me. Sorry if I sound like the suburbanite that I am. (What happened to me?)
Please, don’t misunderstand, I’m not a yard person. But to me there is something about seeing something that needs to happen and then completing it. The feeling of looking back and seeing a completed task, a finished product is so rare that I have grown to appreciate yard work – …until next week when it needs to be done again.
Leadership feels like it never ends. Those of you in ministry can feel like nothing is ever over. It is true. But choosing finish lines along the way is crucial to building momentum. Leadership is not a marathon, it is a series of sprints. When we choose destinations, it is critical that we also define timelines that allow us to measure how far we have traveled. This way we can celebrate, make adjustments, and re-define where we are going next. Have you defined a finish line along the journey?
Want to build momentum?
Become a destination expert.
Because when you keep from drifting, you win. Our next two articles continue the discussion on Building Momentum.
Struggle to stay focused on the destination, or keep your team focused on the destination (or both)? Intentional Impact can help. Contact us today to get started.
Let me know how you will become a destination expert in the comment field below.