IVP - Online Pulpit - Looking Ahead - A Critical Need of a Leader

September 1, 2008

Looking Ahead - A Critical Need of a Leader

Bill Walsh, the former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, was thought to be eccentric because of how extensively he planned his football team’s plays in advance of each game. Most coaches would plan a few opening plays and wait to see how the game unfolded. Then they would respond with plays that seemed appropriate. Walsh wanted the game to respond to him.

Walsh won a lot of Super Bowls with his “eccentric,” proactive approach. He was a leader that looked ahead. Another great leader instructed, “The wise look ahead to see what is coming” (Prov 14:8 NLT).

Looking ahead helps determine your organizational future. Like Bill Walsh, good leaders plan ahead so that life will respond to them. When you fail to look ahead, you will spend your days in crisis mode. You will fall into a trap of “panic planning.” Looking ahead is attempting to write history in advance.

It Gives Direction

Looking ahead is like using a highlighter on a road map: it indicates where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. The road map not only provides information for where you are going; it also suggests where you are not going. Planned abandonment—what you must not do—is just as important as planned adventure—what you will do. Looking ahead helps determine the few things that are worth doing and worth doing well. One of the best benefits of creatively looking ahead is that it allows you to simplify—to repack your bags, lighten your load, take only what is needed for your journey. * It Helps You to Create Rather Than React*

Looking ahead allows you to plan your own actions in advance so that life will respond to you. Each step along your journey you are faced with choices to either create or react. Many people spend their entire lives reacting—to news, cars in traffic, people, events, challenges and obstacles. But there’s a better way to live. It involves making hard choices in advance and following well-laid plans. It involves choosing to create. You create by planning, forecasting and looking ahead.

Looking Ahead Saves Time

In my day planner I’ve written: “One hour of planning saves three hours of execution.” I am a proponent of looking ahead because of its time-savings return. It provides me with a marvelous return on my investment. I have a limited number of hours and days; if I don’t use them wisely by looking ahead I will forever forfeit those gifts. * It Allows You to Build on Strengths*

When an organization is expanded, it builds on strengths, not on weaknesses. Effective leaders determine what the organization can do best and then use those to its advantage. The best resources—time, money and personnel—are assigned to enhance the strengths.

It Gives Energy

Failing to focus, you dissipate your energy on less important matters, improper agendas and lost crusades. You become a dabbler, wasting your power on trivial matters. There may be much activity but little productivity. On the other hand, when your look is focused, concentrated on the vital matters, you are renewed, revitalized, and remade. It Is a Spiritual Experience

Looking ahead can’t be done without the power of prayer. As your eyes engage the plan, allow your heart to engage the heavenly Father. Looking ahead means praying together and planning together. “Where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Mt 18:20 NASB). Without Christ you can do nothing.

Posted by Rick Ezell at September 1, 2008 9:28 AM Bookmark and Share

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