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Strategic Programs and the 80/20 Principle

Orange Leaders
Orange Leaders Thursday August 11, 2011
<? echo $type; ?> Strategic Programs and the 80/20 Principle

What does the beginning of a new school year mean in your church? If it’s anything like mine, fall means launching a bunch of new initiatives and starting back up all the rest of the programming that may have taken a break over the summer.

This month we’re talking about strategic programs and it made me think of a great book called, Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy.

He had me on page one, talking about how: “As perhaps never before in human history, you are actually drowning in options. In fact, your ability to decide among them may be the critical determinant of what you accomplish in life.”

Some of you are probably thinking it’s just not that simple. This leads to conflicting thoughts and stress about all that’s expected of you—especially with programs and special events. So, sometimes it might not even feel like you have a choice at all.

I haven’t met a leader yet that likes to be over-extended with a too-full ministry calendar. So, I thought this bit of research might help.

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s a confirmed business principle that we could apply here. In a list of ten tasks (or in this case, let’s say programs) two of them will turn out to be worth way more in terms of impact—even five or ten times as much—as the other eight put together.

The trick is that it might not be obvious.

So, if you were to look ahead and what’s planned for the last few months of 2011, which programs and events truly have the most potential based on the energy you will invest to pull them off?

I was challenged by Brian Tracy’s statement that, “Time, life and personal management is really taking control of the sequence of events.”

Take a minute to think about how you’d arrange the next year if it could look any way you want. What would you stop doing so that you’d have more energy for something else? What program or event would you change or even combine to increase the impact?

Other Orange-minded tips from the book include:

  1. Think on paper.
  2. Long-term thinking improves short-term decision making.
  3. You can get your time and life under control only to the degree that you discontinue lower-value activities.

In the ministry world, where we wear many hats and feel pulled in many different directions, what would change if we as leaders believed that:

“The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well, and to finish it completely, is the key to great success . . . .”

Look back at your calendar or to-do list for the fall—and think about the 80/20 principle again.

Which two programs or tasks have the highest potential value and are most likely to help you get where you’re trying to go? I’d love to hear what you discover! What else has helped you become more strategic in how you program and plan?

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