Resolve is a quality that is often in short supply, especially in ministry organizations. I define resolve as the ability to chart a course that we know to be right and to not deviate from that course. We may change our tactics regularly but resolve is the discipline of going a long way in a specific direction to reach a specific result.
Why is resolve often in short supply? First, we have not done the hard work of determining exactly where we should go and therefore when a new or better idea comes along we grab that in our effort to be successful. In fact, when leaders in many organizations lay out a new plan to their staff, many yawn, and ignore the new direction as they have become used to the flavor of the month. Charting a ministry path that will yield significant results takes a great deal of thinking, prayer, dialogue and effort. Easy answers are rarely great answers. They are often common answers when what is needed is something other than conventional wisdom.
In the absence of being sure of one's direction and having a set of values that undergird that direction, resolve is not possible. Instead, we settle for an easy solution that is easily changed when a new idea comes along.
Resolve is also in short supply because any direction or strategy you choose will elicit pushback from somewhere. That pushback may be valid if the hard directional work has not been done. But pushback will come and leaders, boards and staff often cave when faced with opposition.
One of the most important traits of good leaders is that they have done their homework, are sure of the direction the organization needs to go and don't cave no matter how much opposition they face. This is not about hubris because a good leader runs process and has key people with them. It is about courage to do what is right in order to go where God is calling them to go. Undeterred by those who don't agree.
Courageous leadership is willing to go where the organization needs to go and to push the organization out of the comfort zone and into more missional work. That takes resolve because there will be any number of reasons to retreat or take an easier route.
Some suggestions to those who want to grow their resolve.
- Make sure you have done your homework and understand where your organization needs to focus.
- Be prepared for pushback because organizations naturally gravitate to the comfortable.
- Have a communication strategy that is clear and allows for dialogue in order for individuals to grasp the new reality and adjust to it. Clarity matters!
- Be sure you have a guiding coalition of key individuals who can help you convince others and who will give leadership to the new direction.
- Keep the main thing the main thing. Don't be diverted from your central message and focus. Talk about it, demonstrate it and over communicate.
- Remember that people grasp new paradigms differently. Some will get it with explanation. Many will require a great deal of dialogue. Some will only get it when they see it. Be patient but keep pressing forward. Don't deviate from your central message and direction.
- Let people know that the organization is going in the direction you have committed to. This is not the flavor of the month. It is going to happen! And demonstrate that by your own actions.