Monday, May 16, 2011

Where To Get Advice

It's been my experience that one can obtain sound advice from a variety of sectors, to include business, the church, education, etc. I just read Donald Rumsfeld's memoir, Known and Unknown and came across some interesting nuggets that I found beneficial and that you may also. The first was a quote that he gained from a general in the military which states:

"If you don't like change, you'll like irrelevance a lot less."

This is so true, especially when it comes to communicating in a manner that your market can relate to as well as understand. While change for change's sake can be considered a strategy, it's important that you effect change in your communications methods with an eye towards keeping in touch with and growing your market or as the phrase states you'll like irrelevance (loss of business to a competitor) a lot less. Many are the businesses and churches that have died or are dying as a result of becoming irrelevant.

The second item I obtained from the book was Rumsfeld's strategy setting guidelines. These will be beneficial as you set goals for your church or business and determine what they should be. Here is what he listed in his book.

Strategy – Setting large, longer-term goals that are realistic and can be balanced with the means available to achieve them.
Step 1: Define one’s goals precisely and write them down.  The number of goals has to be limited. Any more than 4 or 5 means they are probably no at the strategic level.
Step 2: Identify the major assumptions associated with the challenge at hand, always recognizing that they are based on imperfect information that can change or even turn out to have been incorrect.
Step 3: Evaluate the possible course of action in light of the assumptions (To include consequences, both positive and negative).
Step 4: Execute the chosen course of action, realizing that this can and will change based on circumstances. Oversight of these constant adjustments requires careful balance to avoid the extremes of disengagement and micromanagement.

Strategy is not linear. It is never completed until the challenge at hand has been resolved. The means must be continually reviewed to see whether they still serve the goals, and if the goals are sensible and realistic in light of one’s means and unfolding events. Inertia can be an obstacle to formulating and maintaining sound strategy.

Sound advice that translates well whether you are involved in business or in ministry. He has many other words of wisdom as a result of his service in government as in business over the last 4 decades. I encourage you to purchase his book (I receive no financial benefit from this, I just enjoyed the book.). And I encourage you to read and obtain materials from other disciplines besides the one you are engaged in as a means of broadening your horizon and increasing your ability to communicate creatively.

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