If it wasn’t for people . . . details would not be important

If you have been following my Blogs, you know that I believe there is much more power in exercising leadership from a position of servanthood with accountability than from one of maintaining a tight grip on people and attending to every detail of the process.  However, there are times when you “the leader” must roll up your sleeves and get into the middle of the fray, either because details become so important or you are the only one with the vantage point that can assure proper planning and coordination.  The boardroom is no place to grab the knobs and levers (or apps in today’s vernacular) unless the dials and gauges say the enterprise is about to depart the tracks and in special operations, the command section should not alter well-planned actions on the objective unless the supporting structure is unable to accommodate the plan.  (Or if enthusiasm is about to outrun capability.)

My first entry into the special operations command structure was as a standing joint special operations task force air component commander.  In those days, and I presume today even though planning tools are more sophisticated, planning for an operation always began with actions on the objective whatever those actions might be.  But it was sometimes the long and complicated support structure that ran from home base to the objective that required the commander to focus on the details.  Every action required some form of insertion be it SEAL delivery vehicle, high altitude low opening parachute drop, or blacked out landing by an MC-130 Combat Talon on an unimproved airfield.  Sometimes fire support from the air, ground, or sea was required.  And then there was team extraction.  Behind all of this were a myriad of logistics, communications, intelligence, and medical support not to mention outside government agencies and higher headquarters that might be involved.  It was in these situations where an air commander and that staff got into every detail of the operation to be sure tasks could be accomplished and coordination was assured.

In last week’s Blog, I mentioned a major building project in which I was involved.  I was very comfortable in all the fundraising and planning functions carried out by other parts of the organization until it came to the final building plan approval.  You’ll remember from last week that I had to be a fast study on architectural planning and construction and it was a good thing.  While I thought everything was on track, I still had to accomplish detailed reviews of plans and drawings in preparation for critical design reviews.  Did you know that depending upon the room function in a public building there were requirements for 30-minute, one-hour, or two-hour doors to protect occupants from fire?  Or have you ever studied the requirements for fire suppression, pump output, and water source?  And then there was building design and function with special consideration for cost control.  Generally, these type situations were the only ones whereas a leader I would delve into the details.  I did this to make sure we were asking the right questions and that every part of our great team knew how the plans were coming together.

How do these earthly leadership stories translate into the spiritual realm, that is the details of knowing the ONE?  There are probably only a few details that must be right such as Jesus is the Son of God, he was born of a virgin, He lived as a man on earth and was tempted as we are, He died for our sins and was buried, and on the third day, He arose from the dead, and now resides with the Father.  And the last, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) I can only respectfully tell the story of my life and how these details relate.  There is ONE much greater than me that convicts.  To know Him there is no better thing.

For the rest of the story see my book and Blogs at Growingandbuilding.com.