I actually don’t know where this saying originated, but I do know that I heard it repeatedly growing up. One of the greatest principles my dad has taught me when it comes to planning and executing projects and ideas, is this one simple phrase.
“Start with the end in mind.”
It’s rather easy to have an idea, and to begin to act on it. Often, that’s seen as someone who is proactive, who takes initiative; someone who is a “go-getter”… I love seeing this quality in people. It’s often a sign of someone who is not afraid to take risks and step out of their comfort zone. I’d MUCH rather work with someone who I need to slow down and help focus in the right direction, than to try to work with someone who has no drive to act at all.
The first principle I teach people who are putting an action plan to their ideas is this – start with the end in mind. If you have a clear picture of what the end result is, then you’ll know if you’ve hit the mark successfully or not at the end. Not only that, the process of planning and executing becomes easier when you can ask yourself if the ideas and steps you’re taking will, in fact, take you closer to that end result.
Proverbs 19:2 (ESV)
Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
Here’s an example. Currently I’m training some volunteers to take on a greater level of responsibility with our Worship Ministry at Living Hope. One of our goals is to establish a pipeline of singers and musicians from within the church. This starts when they are children, progresses through their teen years, and ends up with them being prepared and ready to join the main church worship team when they are older. Although kids Worship Ministry is different than adult Worship Ministry, the fact that we know our end goal, makes decision-making simpler.
We want our kids to know why we worship the way we do, and we want to make it simple and fun! With each decision that is made at this stage, our Team Leader is simply asking “Is this going to position these kids to be able to join the Elevate (Living Hope’s youth ministry) Worship Team when they become of age?” If the answer is no, then even if it’s a good idea, we generally will toss it and come up with an idea that will. It would do us a great disservice if we developed an amazing kid’s Worship Ministry, that was so far off from Elevate’s Worship Ministry that by the time the kids became teen agers, they needed to forget everything they learned and start from scratch. Instead we build. We add to their already developed foundations of worship once they join Elevate and begin to train them even further.
This one principle goes hand in hand with another one of my faves – building simply. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with excellence when we start with the end in mind and execute it simply. Read more about that here.
What are examples of things you’ve accomplished by starting with the end in mind?