In no way do I want to come across arrogant or braggadocious, but I know how to plan – like a boss – like the elite planner I am. By planning, I’m talking about the ability to analyze complex details, organize those details into easily digestible categories, and then move those details forward in the form of strategic planning. Very few details escape my vision. I see details all – the – time. I’m constantly analyzing, organizing, and strategizing. From the outside looking in, I appear to be a nervous wreck on the brink of an OCD breakdown, but it’s just part of the monster process I call “elite planning”. Yes, I know how to plan at a distinctively higher level than most.
Where did I learn this skill set? JSOC. Joint Special Operations Command in the sands of Iraq, battle planning with some of the most elite planners on planet Earth. I loved it. I loved every part of my time serving with this special squad of death dealers and freedom fighters. As an all-source intelligence analyst, my job was to obsess over the details of our battlespace, organize those details into an easy to digest brief (given to the Combat Commander and his Command Staff), and then move that intel forward for our operators to do what they do best – shoot the enemy in the face…or capture high value targets for further intel. Again, I loved my job. I loved the people I worked with. They were obsessive, excellent, and deadly.
I exited the military addicted to battle planning. I then entered Bible College where my skill set was fine-tuned with college introducing me to the secret sauce of elite planning – the paper planner. Don’t roll your eyes. I’m serious. And I’m utterly convinced that Alexander the Great himself had a paper planner of some kind as he conquered the whole known world. The paper planner changed my life and took my elite planning abilities to a whole other level. I then entered pastoral ministry at Prairie Flower Baptist Church with my JSOC experience firmly in tow, along with my handy-dandy paper planner.
As the years have rolled on, I have had the privilege of leading the church out here on the prairie, serve on various boards and councils, and participated in my fair share of high-level events. And here is where my frustration develops…Where are my fellow elite planners? Where are my fellow obsessives? Where are the ones who strive for excellence in EVERYTHING from wielding a mop to constructing a building? Where are the ones who get up day after day, drop the excuses, and get after it with a hunger and humility that is next level? Where are they?
No doubt, I have rubbed shoulders with some fine leaders over my almost 9 years in pastoral ministry, but such leaders are far and few in between. The sad reality is that most leaders I meet are apathetic and fly by the seat of their pants. They’re not dialed into details, all the while spouting off grandiose visions and dreams of the future. We need leaders who will break their backs endeavoring to be elite planners. And if you’re reading this and you are an elite planner, good. Good for you. Stay at that level. Don’t drop an inch. Keep working. Keep grinding. Keep doing ALL that you do for the good of others and the glory of the One who made you and called you into leadership. Honestly, if you’re not willing to try and be better, then step out of the way. Or to phrase it another way, “lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
We need elite planners. We need more leaders who are focused on the details with their heads out of the clouds. Are you such a planner and leader? If not, what are you going to do about it?