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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What is your strategy for taking action?

by Nelson Roth
For the last year or so, I have been running three or four miles on a regular basis to stay healthy and to keep in shape.  Each time I head out, I set my iPod for music to motivate me.  With a Nike+ chip in my shoe, my iPod also works like a coach giving me times and distances with the push of a button.  I haven’t run like I am now since high school and something I’ve really become aware of is the importance of having a strategy.  Webster tells us that the word strategy has a military origin and it “refers to the action designed to achieve a particular goal.”

In my running, for example, I’m realizing that the challenge is as much mental as it is physical.  So, I’ve begun to implement a mental strategy.  I’ve learned that the first half mile is when I need to have a mental strategy the most – telling myself, “I can do this and I will be glad I pushed through forty minutes from now.”

What action steps are on your agenda for today?   Do you have a strategy to insure that you will finish?

In these blog articles, my wife and I have been sharing a tool that we use in our coaching called The Nehemiah Response Model.  It is a biblical transition process for revitalization and moving forward.  The model captures the ten responses of Nehemiah and will help you, your church, or your organization to get from where you are to where you want to go.  Action is the fifth response and actions brings us to the Implementation Stage of the NRM.

If you were following along with the book of Nehemiah, we would be looking at chapter three.  The response processes of the Incubation Stage have already taken place and the plan has come together.  Nehemiah and the workers are finally ready to implement the plan; they take action.  Like the runner in a race, we learn that Nehemiah had a strategy for all of the action and work to be going on for the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah puts the plan into action using three strategies.

  1. Teamwork.  The people worked together in specific groups.  In chapter three, twenty-eight times, we see the phrase, “next to them/him.”  There are forty-four groups of people mentioned and they are positioned strategically in a total of forty-two places to do the work and carry out the plan.
  2. Prioritizing.  There were a number of gates around the wall that were in need of repair and systematically, each are mentioned in a counter clockwise order beginning and ending at the Sheep Gate.  The Sheep Gate speaks not only of what’s first, but who’s first.  The Sheep Gate provided access for the sheep pasturing in the northern hills outside of Jerusalem to come into the city.  From this gate it was a short distance to the Temple where they were offered as sacrifices.  Interestingly, it was through this same gate that Jesus Christ entered during Passion Week which ended with the Cross and His sacrifice.
  3. Inside-Out.  They began the work where they were.  Reading the chapter reveals that they took action beginning at their own house.  There was a lot to do.  Instead of being overwhelmed they began where they were and proceeded out from there.
Which of these three action strategies would be a helpful for you today?  What challenges stand in the way of such action being possible?  What can you do to overcome the obstacles that are blocking you from moving forward?

I'd be interested in action strategies that you have found helpful. Feel free to leave a comment.

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