I’m a huge fan of setting goals. But there’s something more important, more powerful and far more effective than setting goals.
Plans beat goals every time. You can see this come to life in the health and fitness industry.
People don’t just need a goal to lose weight, they need a plan. They need an eating plan and a workout plan and an overall fitness plan. Without the plan, the goal means nothing.
The plan is where your goal shows up on your calendar. The plan is where your overarching goal interfaces with your daily actions.
John Burroughs said, “The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.” The goal is your great intention. The plan is your smallest deed.
When it comes to leadership, you should have a goal to get better.
But you also need a simple plan. Preferably written on a sheet of paper. Preferably just one sheet.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. We’ve developed a simple, one-page personal growth plan template.
You’ll notice the plan does begin with goals because those are still important.
When it comes to leadership development, how do you want to get better? What part of leadership do you want to improve? Do you want to be a better communicator, team builder, manager, or decision maker? All of those are specific goals, much better than “Be a better leader.”
Write your specific personal growth goals at the top of the page and then focus your plans on HOW you will accomplish them.
Here are a few things that should go on your personal growth plan.
#1 – What books are you going to read?
Great books are an incredible investment.
Think about it. For about $15 with free shipping, you can tap into someone’s life’s work. You get to read what they wrote, but you also get to learn from their research, interviews, experiences and more.
Choose a book that intentionally speaks to your goal. If you want to be a better communicator, there are excellent books on this topic. If you want to learn how to manage people, search for the best book you can find.
Don’t just read because something is popular…read because it will help you accomplish your specific goal.
Decide what you’re going to read in advance and go ahead and order all the books. Keep them in plain sight.
If you’re looking for recommendations…
- Here are twenty books we highly recommend for pastors and church leaders.
- Here are seven books we recommend you read WITH your staff.
- Here are seven books pastors should read more than once.
#2 – What events are you going to attend?
Many pastors go to conferences, workshops, and events.
But you shouldn't just put something on the calendar because it’s big or it’s good or other people are going. Choose events based on your specific leadership goals, recognizing that it might be out of your comfort zone or specific area of expertise.
Don’t sign up for events because you get an email about a price increase. Choose events strategically.
When you do make the decision, go ahead and register and book all your travel. It will not be convenient and something will come up, and that’s exactly why intentional plans are important.
#3 – What networks are you going to join?
As you think about how you are going to grow as a leader in the next year, you might want to be intentional about connecting with specific people. There are formal and informal networks who can help you. And as you tap into those groups, you’ll help others at the same time.
Here are two examples.
I’m a part of a closed Facebook group consisting of Christian Entrepreneurs. As the leader of Church Fuel, this group is a valuable source of information and insight. And I like to think I add something to the others.
Not long ago, a few of us decided to meet in person. We rented a house in San Diego and spent 3 days working on our business strategies and helping each other. We swapped ideas, talked about life and had a great time.
Deepening the relationships with that group was something I wrote on my own personal growth plan earlier in the year.
Secondly, there’s a pretty amazing community developing at Church Fuel. There are pastors and church leaders from every state in all kinds of situations. Not only do these leaders consume vetted content, but they also are a part of a community.
They ask and answer each other’s questions. They gather online. And there are even in-person meetups.
Church Fuel is more than a program; it’s a network.
You don’t have to limit yourself to these three categories. There are many other things you can write on your personal growth plan. In fact, feel free to change the template to suit your needs.
The point is to connect your leadership goals to your specific plans. The power comes from intentionality. You don’t need a bigger budget, a pipeline, process, or new technology to do this. It’s called a personal growth plan because it starts with you.
There's a second benefit to creating this.
Sharing your personal growth plan with your team will help create conversations about their personal growth as well.
Once you fill out your one-page plan, share it with your team. Not to coach them on how to do it, but to create accountability and ask for help. As you ask for suggestions about books and events, you’ll be able to give the same advice to others.
You’ll probably find others will want to follow and before you know it, you’ll have a few people focused on personal growth.
That’s when the magic happens.
Take the Next Step
You can create a personal growth plan without the help of any other person.
But there’s something extra-powerful about being a part of a community who is focused on getting better.
That’s the common denominator among all the members of the Church Fuel community. We live in different parts of the country and serve in all types of churches, but we share a desire to grow.
We want our churches to grow and we want to grow as leaders.
Yes, there are coaching videos and downloadable resources, but the community is the secret weapon.