As a leader, what do you do after you’ve been inspired?
It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way. Proverbs 19:2 (NIV84)
A few days ago, I left a meeting feeling inspired and challenged. I loved the vision. It was powerful and I was fired up. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t happen in every meeting I attend–unless I’m leading the meeting, of course!
Although it may not happen every week when you encounter big ideas, what’s your best response? Here are a few ideas to consider:
Take a moment to thank God. Ultimately, inspiration is a gift from God. Honor him by giving him thanks for the new excitement and enthusiasm. Ask him for wisdom and discernment as you plot a new course.
Slow down. It’s easy to jump too quickly into task-mode; creating projects, timelines, and to-do lists. Excitement can distort our perception of reality. For example, “I think this is a great idea, everyone else will too!” Let the excitement boil off a little so that you can see things as they really are.
Don’t change everything. Chances are, most of what’s happening under your leadership is good—so you don’t need to make vast, sweeping changes. And even if you do need to turn everything upside down, too much change will do more damage than the status quo.
Make it practical. Time to figure out where the rubber meets the road. Transform your inspiration into something practical—do this on your own or with others. In my experience, vision is often overrated and overvalued. Why? Vision is nothing without strategy and execution. Make your inspiration specific. Actionable. Measurable. Create a Big List of possibilities, and then narrow it down to one or two ideas. Once you accomplish the few, you can always return to your Big List for more. Better to do a few things well than fail at the many.
Refine your ideas. I’m sure there are dozens if not hundreds of ways to refine ideas. Essentially, you either refine your ideas on your own or with others. The key is to know your “go-to” way to process. Start there and do the opposite. Personally, my preference is to reflect and brainstorm on my own. If I truly want the best ideas, then I need to involve others. If you love processing with others, start there–but also take the time on your own to slow down and hear God’s voice so that you can develop and deepen your convictions.
Jump into Task Mode. Make a plan. Stick to it unless you have some very good reasons to change course. Great leadership means finishing what you set out to do.