Mark Affleck

The Church’s Cotton Candy “Sugar Hit”

May 18, 2016
Church Strategy

The trap is set when a church pulls the trigger too quickly on a new program or action plan.  The leaders calling the shots jump before considering even the most basic questions about 1) the move’s merits; and 2) how the action fits into the church’s vision for the future.
Focusing on tactics without having a strategy is like cotton candy—the initial hit (sugar) traps you, and then you can’t escape.
I’ve seen this first hand in my career as a CEO Leader working on strategy and crisis management both in the marketplace and inside the church.
How can church leaders avoid false starts? By turning on their radar.
All organizations (that includes churches) must identify the key issues and forces slamming onto their beach TODAY–and then build a strategic trajectory toward their TOMORROW.
A prescient and distinctive point of view about the future is one of the most important assets of any church or organization.
Anticipating trends, threats and opportunities on the road ahead has been, and will continue to be the critical management challenge for every leader in a world buffeted by an information hurricane. A world dramatically affected by the fall-out from a technological explosion.  A world that is being reshaped right before our eyes.
Strategy in this new world is an ongoing positioning game into the FUTURE, not a linear reset of the PAST.  Strategy is now a bifurcated struggle revolving around two imperatives—1) Identifying the issues and forces driving your TODAY and 2) Watching the radar screen to identify what must be interrupted in order to arrive alive TOMORROW.
Premature forays into the unknown without thoughtful consideration will, inevitably, turn sprinting into a strategy. But sprinting is not a strategy. It’s a tactic.
In order to work, sprints must generate incremental progress toward an identified vision destination. If they don’t, the exercise is nothing more than a feel-good energy release made possible by a hit of sugar.

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