Strategic Mapping, Part II
By: Bill Easum
Strategic mapping is replacing strategic planning. What’s the difference?
Strategic planning is concrete and static. Once the plan is in effect, it is usually followed to the letter. Also, it is usually over a five-year period with an additional year added each year so that the plan remains five years into the future. Most strategic plans go on a shelf never to be seen again.
Strategic mapping is fluid and open-ended. Think of it as a topographical map that explorers fill in as they traverse new terrain. They know where they started, where they are at the moment, and where they want to go.
Strategic mapping is not forecasting the future; rather, it is making certain today's decisions cause the future to happen the way you want it to. Also, keep in mind that topographical maps change as explorers develop more sophisticated equipment like the present Global Positioning System.
Strategic mapping is like grabbing hold of an elephant. Where you grab hold is very important. All sorts of bad things can happen if you grab hold of an elephant in the wrong place or start strategic mapping without understanding the rules. Making this comparison results in the discovery of several rules used by successful strategic mappers.
Last month, I shared the first five rules…here are the remaining five.
Rule #6: Once on board, hold tightly to the elephant and do not attempt to discount while moving.
Strategic mappers institute their plan on the basis of solid research rather than feelings or hunches. Therefore, they don't give up or change direction at the first sign of trouble. Instead, they give their ideas a chance to develop.
Rule #7: Only a few people can ride the elephant at the same time.
Rule #8: Do not ride the elephant too long.
Is your church able to begin working on its strategic map Monday morning?
Rule #9: Ignoring these simple rules can result in a camel ride.
How strategic is your strategic map?
Does your planning team regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their work and are they willing to make the necessary changes even if the map is still working well?
Pastors interested in helping a stagnant church make radical change will find the book Teaching The Elephant To Dance by James A. Belasco helpful if they apply the principles to the church environment.
Bill Easum is president of 21st Century Strategies, Inc. a full-service church consulting group since 1987 whose mission is to equip Christian for global impact, www.churchconsultations.com.