In my professional life, I find myself longing for clear-cut, well understood, and articulate plans. I was not always this way. Thanks to a good friend's intervention that began on England's southeast coast and continued for years, I found myself experiencing the wonderful benefits of working together in well understood, flexible yet orchestrated ways. It is a great way to live! Teams are always stronger than the sum of their parts. Group wisdom always carries the potential to discover unimaginable vistas. Yet, there is a weakness in planning that I have only recently understood.
Planning is a tool and process that amplifies the potential of a group. Generally, this is a good thing. However, when truth is not at its center, planning also multiplies a group's ability to get things horribly wrong. Pain can be amplified. Exploitation can be leveraged. Evil can find itself at home.
This should not in any way suggest that planning is a bad thing. To the contrary! Planning is merely a tool that helps an individual and community in the process of becoming more effective. The question to ask one's self is simply, “effective at what?”
There are two reminders I find myself forced to carry. First, one must always ensure that planning occurs in a moment bathed in truth. Without being anchored in goodness, compassion, and love, the alternative will abound. Evil lurks in every life. Self strives to be our singular god. Greed is natural. When one plans, connecting with mercy, acceptance, and community is the first step to ensure the plans that follow help not destroy.
Second, always evaluate the outcomes of one's plans. What are the results telling you? If there are questions, such as when “the Chief Priest and his cronies convened the High Council, Israel's senate, and sent to the jail to have the prisoners brought in. When the police got there, they couldn't find them anywhere in the jail.” (Acts 5.21, 22) One must go back and examine the plans with fresh eyes. Never stick to a plan conflicting with one's values and priorities.
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