I have heard it said many times, “A leader can’t take others anywhere he hasn’t already been first.” I gotta say that isn’t entirely true. I understand the thought behind that statement and there is a principle there that has merit. However, if we only lead people places we have already been, we are going to be doing a whole lot of backtracking and it will take much longer to reach our destination. It would seem that the spirit and principle behind that saying is preparation of the leader.
I think the key is the leader has to have the map. She may not have actually traveled that way before, but she has the plan. The leader has done the research and he knows the direction and the destination, even though he hasn’t actually been there yet.
A prepared and intentional leader will experience success more often and with greater affect than one that “wings it.” We hear a lot about intentionality and being proactive and with good reason. A good leader is both of these. A good leader takes the time and knows their work is primarily at the front end.
A good football coach watches a whole lot more film than the players ever will. The coach has put in countless hours getting everything ready for the upcoming season long before the players have shown up for training camp. His hardest work is putting together the game plan and setting strategy.
As each of us is trying to take our churches/ministries/organizations/projects to the next level we each want to know the next step.
Before we can take the next step, we need to know the plan. To know the plan, we must know the destination. In order to know the destination, we must have clear vision. These things only happen ahead of time. They often happen when the leader is alone. They come from hard work, research, and time.
Whether you have been where you are taking your team or not, you need the right map. Take the time and develop that map. Have the plan that will guide you through the times of ambiguity. Know what is needed and how you will accomplish the set goals. If you don’t know on your own, as a good leader, it is your job to find someone who can guide you in the process.
All of this is done before the first step is taken. A prepared plan and a good first stepp will help ensure a successful journey.