Administration,  Life,  Personal

Building a System


Depending upon the context, the word conjures up one of two thoughts. Historically, the term has related to the ability to see. More recently, it has meant a business-related goal. That goal, in one sense, is what the business expects to “see” if it properly fulfills the mission.

So, the vision is dependent upon the mission. But in order to fulfill the mission, a strategy needs to be developed. That strategy, if properly executed, can lead to the fulfillment, but it does not guarantee it. As we have seen in recent months with COVID-19, unforeseen circumstances can cause major shifts in our thinking. But without an end goal (a vision), then those shifts may be necessary, but they may not lead in the intended direction.

As for the strategy, it will be designed with a series of action steps. As each action is completed, the strategy is being executed, which works toward the expected fulfillment of the mission, which, in turn, helps to achieve the overall goal – the vision. I have labeled these actions as steps in the process. Thus, the steps help execute the strategy which fulfill the mission which ultimately, lead to achieving the vision.

Now, as it relates to a business or organization, many more factors come into play. For instance, the idea of the organization’s culture must be considered. As Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” In other words, an organization can have a great strategy, but if the culture is toxic (i.e. the people do not get along, a lack of trust exists, etc.), then the culture will dominate the setting, and nothing worthwhile will truly be accomplished.

This blog series may be helpful to an organization. The principles I just shared will be expounded on in some level of detail over the next several months. But the idea is not necessary for an organization; they are meant for the individual. The goal (my vision) for this series is for each reader to consider his/her own personal vision and then consider how to achieve that vision by developing a mission statement, a workable strategy, and a series of steps – all towards one goal that is yours.

Ultimately, I hope the goal you set is about living in, not of the world – that is, fotonni. Simply setting the goal will not be enough. Developing a mission statement will help, but the truth is that work must be done. You may hope that something happens, but hope is not a strategy. A strategy requires work. Execution must take place.

But let me share a word of caution. Having a system developed is not a guarantee at all. Even if you (or I) fully develop a system that is reasonable in scope and truly workable, life happens. Again, consider the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are affected by health issues, by a loss of job, being restricted to staying at home, etc., the situation has impacted us all in some way. But, as I share above, if we do not have some sort of plan, then as the restrictions ease, or health improves, etc., how will you know how to proceed.

Have a system in place can help. That is what this series is designed to do. It is to help any person walk through the process of developing a system – whatever your end goal may be.

Before we begin this process (which will commence with next week’s post), I want to use this space to share four specific thoughts about this series.

First, the series will be long. I have not fully developed my thoughts on this, but right now, I can only commit to one article per week due to other responsibilities. When I spoke only on my own process a few years ago, it took more than one-half year. That series was a little different than this one will be, but I will certainly bring some elements from that series into this one. I want this series to be helpful, and I want it to be thorough, so it will take some time. Additionally, to create your system will require some work, so my posting once each week (Fridays as usual), will give you time to work through any items you need to consider each week.

Second, the development of your system will be a process. In truth, mine began with the development of mission statement about 25 years ago. A few years later, I added other components. And in 2013-2014, I added the last aspect – the steps. And really, not much has changed over the years, but minor tweaks have been made (such as a word being added or amended) since. But particularly at the outset, you will likely find yourself constantly revising your thoughts. That’s ok. But once it is right, you will likely know it.

Third, my system is unashamedly built according to my faith. You will see this in every aspect of my system from vision to steps. Because I am a follower of Christ, I also include a calling in my system. That is not necessary for this exercise, but if you sense you have a calling, you can certainly add it. I will include mine as an example. Ultimately, my system helps define my approach to discipleship. That approach is based upon 4 “L’s” – Learn, Live, Love, and Lead. All of that will be explained through this series. You can certainly develop your own idea for your Steps, but don’t worry about that yet. We need to work through higher level considerations first.

Fourthly, and finally, I will use a particular convention when talking about terms in a specific manner. For this post, I simply used words such as vision, mission, strategy, and steps to convey some general thoughts. But when I use the words in the context of the system, my intention is to capitalize them. Thus, if I were to talk about developing the goal, I would write something like, the VISION helps to share your ultimate WHY (I also like to capitalize certain question words like WHY, WHAT, and HOW when I am not asking a question, but rather writing about the concept.

The rest of the groundwork for this series has been laid. We are ready to consider our VISION. That will wait until next week. But as I mentioned last week, before we can really have a good idea of what direction we want to go, we need to know where we are. So, this week, I am going to ask you to take a little time to write down a few ideas:

  • What is important in your life?
  • What do you want to accomplish with your life?
  • What resources do you have, or will you need, to accomplish your goal(s)?

If you begin by just recording a few thoughts to these ideas, you will be on your way to developing your own system.

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