I caught an article in an old issue of Entrepreneur magazine (Oct 2103) by Sam Hogg, a professor at the Michigan Business School, that got me thinking. He said that his students are always asking about entrepreneurism and he shared a couple of the most common questions he gets. It was the first question that sent me into effective church “lala land.”

Student: How do I get started on my business?
Professor: Act before you think.

Many of our church’s committees, teams, boards, and staff members need to hear those words – act before you think – because planning paralysis is more common than you might think. I regularly remind church leaders that they are responsible for making their meetings matter, but too often the “matter at hand” is talking and planning and strategizing and weighing options and talking some more. By the time someone calls for the question, it seems that the group has forgotten what they were meeting for in the first place! 

So, here are six practices that will help you (and your committee leaders, etc.) avoid planning paralysis.

  1. Review your mission, values, and vision until you’ve not only memorized them, but you’ve internalized them as well. Without them, decision making will be based on personal preferences.
  2. Know what your resources are: time, funding, facilities, material resources, and people. If you act with resource ignorance, you’ll find yourself running out of gas long before you get to your destination.
  3. Have a good “why.” If you don’t know what you want to accomplish and why it’s important, it’s virtually impossible to accomplish anything of value. Before you start anything, you should know the mission for every event, ministry, and mission.
  4. Define success. Number 3 above should help with that, but be sure to name specifically what success will look like. Without that, you’ll never know if you’ve reached your goal.
  5. Trust your instincts. Sure, it’s probably good advice to look before you leap, but for most of us that look will raise enough second thoughts and doubts that we won’t launch out on anything. Trust your gut… you’d be surprised how often that gut feeling is a kick in the pants from the Holy Spirit.
  6. Leap. Look. Adjust. Repeat.

One last thought: don’t be afraid to pull the plug. Not everything is going to be a rousing success. If you aren’t making steady progress towards your destination, be proactive. Stop feeding ineffective practices and go take a leap somewhere else.

Question: What do you think is the biggest barrier to leaping before you look?  How can you overcome it? Share your answers in the Comments section below.