Building a Lasting Foundation

 

When planning or making changes, leaders have a choice. They can go for a quick fix or for slowly building a strong and lasting foundation. They can lay sod or they can take the time to plant seed and then nurture the seed into growth. We live in a world culture that demands speed and quickness so this isn't an easy leadership choice. Planting seeds consumes time, energy and takes a lot of extra care, but eventually the result is a very healthy, beautiful and resilient turf.

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In the Bible, Jesus talks about the men who built houses – one built a house using a foundation of stone while the other didn't. When the rains came, the house without the rock foundation fell down, while the other did not.

He also talks about a person who, when they built a tower, didn't count the cost. They get the foundation laid, but it never gets finished. Sometimes our best efforts at quick fixes lead us down roads that don't ever get finished.

As I mentioned earlier, this is not an easy choice to make, especially when the pressure of fast results or the market is constantly, as a strong wind, in leader's faces.

Here are some thoughts (and you are welcome to expand the list):

  • Try to focus on making quality decisions. This means getting as much input as you can before you move forward. It means allowing people who view things differently (temperamentally, strategically, or tactically) from you. It's still your decision, but taking time to get input, even if it causes a mess is a great way to begin.
  • Count the cost of both approaches. Each one has it's cost to your customers, your employees, your business and you. Make sure you count the cost to each constituency and for each constituency.
  • Look at the long-term. Short term fixes can be devastating in the longer term. Make sure you always look ahead and try to discern the ultimate outcome and how it will affect your customers, your employees and the company twelve to eighteen months out.
  • Make a decision. Not doing anything is as bad as making a mistake. Uncertainty is never easy for the market or for your employees. Focus, count and look, then decide.

When I was a teenager my father stripped our front yard down to bare dirt. We then planted very expensive Bermuda grass seed. We tended those seeds for what seemed like months. It was hard work, not only preparing and planting, but taking care of those seeds. The first season we had good growth, and one year later, our front lawn looked like a putting green for an expensive golf course. It was incredibly beautiful and worth all the hard work. He could have chosen a quick fix, but instead he choose to seed, care and reap the benefit.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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