Dear new global leader,
Welcome to our final morning together. You’ve heard a lot this week about loving God, loving people, and learning how to embrace a scope of responsibility for our mission that extends to 10 or 20 nations. The challenge you face is daunting. Yet God has called you and he goes before you.
You need to know that your success will be proportional to your willingness to undergo profound personal change — deep change, as Robert Quinn calls it. What I have learned from my own experience and from observing other leaders who have borne much fruit is somewhat counterintuitive: the greater the scope, the more focus is required. In the military, once all the battle scenarios are laid out and plans made, the field commander issues what is referred to as the “strategic intent” of the mission. In the likely case that everything on the battlefield doesn’t go according to plan, strategic intent ensures that every soldier understands the one key objective that this engagement must accomplish.
It was written of Jesus that “he set his face toward Jerusalem.” Large adoring crowds and stubborn religious leaders could not deter him from his mission. Paul, the apostle who traversed thousands of miles and crossed multiple cultures, wrote “this one thing I do.”
What is your “one thing?” What has God laid on your heart that you must accomplish during this next season of your leadership? If you have three to five years, what is the most important result or cluster of results that you will aim at each day when you rise from your bed?
May I suggest that you open a fresh page in your journal and write that one thing down. Write it in big capital letters in the middle of the page. Everything else is peripheral. Sure, there are a lot of other things going on. Meetings. Travel. Email. Presentations. Reports. Partners. Donors. Conferences. Leader transitions. Good news. Bad news. Crises. More meetings. More transitions.
You’re focused. You know your strategic intent. You can see the target and at times, you are so close you can smell it and taste it. Keep at it. Share it with others. Invite them to come along with you. Prune out as much as possible that doesn’t help you move in that direction.
This pruning begins with your own time and your emotional energy. Those two assets are not limitless. We can dream as much as we want, but ultimately you have only so much of you to go around. Prune. Focus. Prioritize. Sequence. Execute. Be ruthless on self-evaluation of how you expend those two precious resources and gracious on how you evaluate others’ use of their time and energy.
Our mission is at stake.
What is your strategic personal intent?