Recently I met with an employer that wanted to take his business to the next level. He had 90 clients and was doing a fabulous job, but he was doing all the work himself. He was the secretary, sales and admin. He is young and charismatic. He has a lot of energy.
He sat with some of the Business Services leaders of our company and was sharing his plan. We have one guy on staff that consults multi-million dollar companies. Nick did not know this. This gentleman we will call "Michael," began to ask questions. Nick had not done any research or planning. He did not know how many businesses like his had been started in that area, their gross profit or how long they last. He had no clue of their prices or anything.
As Michael was talking, Nick was just looking at him with a somewhat blank stare. Michael asked, "Son, are you going to write this down?"
Here is what I learned from that meeting about leadership and starting movements.
1)Many leaders have a hard time transitioning from the "do-it-all" or "go to guy" to truly empowering others. There is a reason for this. When they first start a movement they are required to get the business or ministry going by sheer energy and everything falls back on them. It is hard to hand over something that you worked so hard for. The people you are handing off to will NEVER have the same passion you do. But they will have more TIME and ENERGY to do it. Nick may have been a great sales guy, but can Nick actually transition to being the "Empowering/Administrative Leader?"
2) Energy is Limited. I am still a relatively "young leader or pastor." At the time of this blog I am 32 years old. I have started a church in a city with two families and have no previous ties here. I also work 50+ hours a week at Workforce Solutions as a Recruiter. The energy it has taken has been enormous. It is the most energy consuming endeavor I have embarked upon. But here is the thing; energy is limited. I have to rest a lot. I mean a lot. The older I get, the less energy I will have. Nick has a lot of energy and can do all he is doing right now, but his energy reserve is getting smaller and smaller. This is how burnout occurs. You get a bunch of stuff going while your energy reserve is high, but you have to continue to sustain it. Don't build your movement on energy you will not have in 10 years, but rather "invest" your energy into building people coupled with proper structures.
3) Research and Planning was too Much Work for Nick. Nick did not want to have to do all the research and planning. He wanted to get some grant money and get rolling. He did not have time for all this stuff. I could tell by his glazed over look. My movement is church planting/pastoring. I see the same glazed over look on pastor's eyes as they go out to start a church. They have a word from God and do not have time for all that research and planning. They are going to go in God's power and do His work, right? I have seen 6 friends close the doors of their church plants since I have started. I am officially two years in this city and 6 months after launching. Research and planning will save you from costly mistakes that young leaders usually make. Learn from others. Interview them. Develop a strategic plan (in pencil of course).
I think I learned more from ole Nick than he learned from me.