Weekly Thought – August 11, 2015
Fred enjoyed reading military history. The strategies of great generals intrigued him, as did their motivations. One of his favorite stories was the one of Robert E. Lee’s young officer who ended each letter with YTCO: Yours to Count On. During a long hospital stay, one of his granddaughters sent him a simple piece of paper with those letters. They hung on his wall until his discharge.
Planning for the 2016 and 2017 BWFLI schedules is moving ahead. Teams of men and women who are committed to “stretching and blessing the next generation of leaders… to the glory of God” are forming.
The Three Aspects of Action
We must consider three aspects as we think about action: 1) concept 2) system, and 3) philosophy. The concept defines the basic principles. The system is the implementation method for these principles. And, the philosophy is the reason for doing it.
Let’s say it another way: The concept is the what to do; the system is the how to do it; and the philosophy is the why of doing it.
Once the concept is clearly understood the system becomes a matter of technological development and procedure. However, until the concept is crystallized, it is counter-productive to move ahead. One of the great aspects of leadership is setting the vision and then drawing everyone together under the banner.
A major downfall is attempting to repeat systems without thoroughly analyzing the situation. I always like to say, “keep current.” This means knowing all the details which will influence the impact of an action. Concepts can be transferable more easily than systems and implementation. There are very few situations which totally parallel each other and respond to the exact same systems. The great leaders know how to identify the differences and adjust accordingly.
An example of this is my experience with the great National Steel Strikes in the 1950s. I was called in to develop strategies for management. They pulled out ideas that had worked in the past and since their goal of coming to a positive outcome was the same, they assumed they could use the same system or technique. Again, updating your facts before taking action is critically important.
Action also requires art and science. Some aspects can be formularized, but others must be developed through experience. Asking the right questions, listening carefully, and watching body language enable one to read situations. In Texas they laugh about people who go “ready, fire, aim.” Jumping the gun in taking action can be deadly – and often very costly.
Knowing what to do, how to do it, and why to do it allows a leader (and the organization) to clearly develop a workable process which leads to success. Repeating past successes without current updating, or heading off without a proper vision can only lead to disappointment.
This week carefully consider: 1) Which aspect of action is my soft spot? 2) Where have I matured the most? 3) How can I use Fred’s thoughts to develop others?
Words of Wisdom: “The concept is the what to do; the system is the how to do it; and the philosophy is the why of doing it.”
Wisdom from the Word: “How blessed are those whose actions are blameless, who obey the law of the Lord.” (Psalm 119:1 NET Bible)