A Vision Without a Plan is a Pipe Dream

Once you have all of the elements of a good vision, it's time to put your gray matter to work and come up with a plan.  It's no secret proverb that by failing to plan you plan to fail.  A vision by itself, without a plan, is simply a pipe dream.

At the planning phase of things, you want to ask and answer as many questions as you can.  Obviously, the types of questions you ask and answer will be driven by the kind of vision that you're trying to execute.


Small, Personal Vision

If your vision involves something small and personal, you might be able to get away with a concise plan of when and where?  If your vision is to grow in a specific discipline, for example, you may want to consider the following questions as you craft your plan:

  • When are you going to practice this new discipline?
  • What are you doing now during that time?  
    • Sleeping? 
    • If so, what time do you need to go to bed at night so that you can get up early to do this?
    • What are you doing at night that you need to stop doing so you can go to bed so you can get up?
  • What things do you need? A good Bible, a journal?
  • Where are you going to do it?  Do you need to be away from distractions?


Larger, Broader Vision

If your vision is larger and broader and involves more people, you have more questions to ask and answer.  The following list isn't comprehensive but can be used to lead you in the right direction or at the very least lead you to create some questions of your own:

  • How long will it take to implement?
  • What is the timeline?
  • What can be done now?  What must wait to be done until later?
  • Who is going to do what?  How much time will that take?  Does that person or those persons have the margin for the level of commitment the vision requires?  If not, what's the plan?
  • How much will it cost to start, execute, keep running?  What's the budget and where will the funds come from?
  • Are there capitol assets required?  What do you need to buy or gather?  How much will that cost? Where will it come from?
  • How much of your time and energy is this going to require to pull off well?  Where is that time going to come from?
  • If you pursue this, what impact will your pursuit have on your relationship with God, your marriage, your family, your ability to Sabbath?  Have you counted the cost?
  • What are you going to say 'no' to so that you can say 'yes' to this?  
  • How will things be managed?  How will progress be evaluated?
  • Is promotion needed?  How will it be promoted?  What will promotions cost?  Who will create the promotions? When?
  • What's the timeline for promotions?  Who is your target for promotion?  If you're needing others to promote it, what's their timeline for accepting your promotional material and getting it out?
  • How will you guard against vision creep?
  • Once it is started, what's the plan for keeping it going knowing that momentum is easily lost after the initial push of launching something new?  
  • What will things look like 3, 6, 12, 18 months in?

Just like with writing out a vision, your plan needs to be written out too.  Discuss your vision and plans with others and invite their feedback and questions.  Be sure to do this not just with your cheerleaders and your mom but also with your skeptics and those more seasoned than you.  In doing so, you'll make your plan better.

Don't rush this phase.  Be patient.  Be diligent.  Labor hard in your planning.

Lastly, be prayerful and hold your plans in a loose fist - after all, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." (Proverbs 19:21).  Be willing to change the plan as circumstances and providence unfold.