“There’s more than one way to skin a cat”—or so you’ve heard the saying. Strategy is only a tool to accomplish the objective. As leaders, assigned and empowered by God, how do we partner with God’s strategy, and how do we discern how much He honors our human initiative?
The first recourse is always to seek the mind of the Lord. David began each campaign against the enemy by building an altar and seeking God. We want to be in concert with God. Does He have an opinion on the vision we’ve set, and the strategy we use to reach that vision?
Second. In some instances God seems to be very ‘hands-on’ and gives us direct insight and oversite into our business or ministry. This might include the promotion of a particular product or program. Perhaps it’s a partnership or merger, or a timing issue on when best to execute a decision. If possible, you may want to communicate with your staff what you are sensing from the Lord and why you may not be following conventional wisdom or the suggestions of observational research. This will give them a chance to listen and discern the Lord’s strategy along-side of you.
But what do we do when God seems to be hands-off; when there seems to be no green light, or red light? Is that a sign to wait for the Lord, or is that his tacit permission to use our own ingenuity and good leadership sense? That is a question you’ll need a team to help you find the answer to.
If you are sensing the Lord is empowering YOU to make leadership and strategy decisions, here are a few helpful tips to do that well.
Tip #1 – Gain Knowledge. Fill any gaps in your knowledge with research and information. Knowledge leads to wisdom. Knowledge is the data. Wisdom is the insight to know what to do next.
Tip #2 – Involve the Team. Involve others in your strategy. Utilize the synergy of the team strengths. Debate before a decision is reached. Once a decision is reached, stand unified. Give everyone their own special role in executing that strategy.
Tip #3 – Test the market. You don’t have to throw your entire weight into an unproven product, or an unproven market. That’s risky. You should be able to test a product or market and measure early successes.
Tip #4 – Evaluation and feedback. We rarely ‘get-it-right’ on the first shot. The key to improvement is honest critique, and feedback loops. Creating a courageous culture filled with realistic assessments of ourselves and our ideas is vital.
Tips #5 – Who, not What. Remember your most important ‘strategic decisions’ are about ‘who’, not ‘what.’ Who should be your next hire. Who should you partner with in business. Which of your team members should tackle this project? Who is God asking you to invest in?
Businesses and ministries should be ever evolving entities that are shaped by hundreds of daily decisions that influence the culture and people we serve. Be courageous enough to slow down and seek God’s mind and strategy in that process. And be courageous enough to make great decisions yourself when God empowers you to do so.