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The Power of Preparation By Chris Jorgensen

The Power of Knowing Your One Thing

In his book The One Thing, Gary Keller makes the case that leaders will have a much more significant impact if they focus on the answer to this question: “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” [i]

To truly grasp the power of this question, we must recognize that the answer lies beyond the daily grind. It requires leaders to step out of the urgent and invest time in preparation.

Unfortunately, some leaders face an even more significant challenge. They lack the time for “the ONE Thing” and the mindset, habits, and rhythms to consider what they may neglect amidst the chaos. [ii]

Fortunately, the key lies in creating intentional space, mental capacity, and a proactive rhythm for planning and preparation. It’s about making room for a profound impact.

Creating this time and space for planning and preparation plays a crucial role in making a lasting impact as a leader. However, various leadership personas struggle to dedicate time and energy to these essential tasks. Let’s take a closer look:

The Day-to-Day Leader

These leaders typically focus solely on the daily tasks in front of them. They might work in a customer service–oriented role or on a team responsible for responding to needs as they arise. They have a lot of essential responsibilities that require thinking beyond the daily tasks but have little time or capacity to get out of the rut of navigating each day.

We all likely have witnessed people like this. They are typically very focused on scheduling, coordinating, and stepping in to help with daily operations. They focus so much on the urgent and essential items of the day that they have very little time or capacity for things beyond today. As a result, when significant opportunities for improvement become evident, they may not have the habits that allow them to prepare well.

The Deliberate Leader

These leaders possess impressive attention to detail and a desire to understand every aspect of a situation before moving. While their meticulous approach benefits the planning process, it can sometimes hinder progress.

Analysis paralysis often creeps in, causing these leaders to spend excessive time planning without taking action. As a result, they usually find themselves repeatedly working on the same projects, struggling to make tangible progress.

The Busy Leader

We’ve all encountered those who claim they are “busy” whenever we ask how they are doing. These individuals are perpetually swamped with tasks, leaving little time for reflection or strategic thinking. Meetings are difficult to schedule, deadlines get pushed back, and communication responses are delayed.

Overwhelmed by their workload’s sheer volume and pace, these leaders often become disorganized and disengaged, compromising their ability to plan for the future.

The Planning-Averse Leader

Some leaders have an aversion to planning. They view it as restrictive, fearing it limits their options and stifles creativity. Consequently, these leaders avoid preparation, missing out on the benefits it can bring.

There are many reasons leaders may have a natural aversion to planning. Some believe that planning and preparation do not adequately allow God to work. These leaders often miss that preparation can strengthen what they think they are protecting by avoiding planning. For example, leaders nervous that formal planning will remove God from their future work can solidify the need for prayer, discernment, and God’s will if they instill these values into the preparation process.

Perhaps you are plagued by one of these or another leadership persona that makes it hard for you to focus beyond urgent items and find adequate time for preparation.

What’s holding you back from taking the time to steward your organization well through preparation?

What leadership persona resonates the most with you, and how can you work to prepare more effectively?

What is your answer to “The ONE Thing” question, and how can you create space to answer it?


[i] Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Result (Austin: Bard Press, 2012), 10

[ii] Keller and Papasan, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Result, 106.

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Chris Jorgensen is the founder of Convergent Strategy. Chris offers strategic guidance in planning, effectiveness, and organization development. He is also the author of a soon-to-be-released book, The Nehemiah Blueprint, which explores essential leadership attributes.


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