Recently, my family went on vacation. We have three growing kids and needed a little bit of extra room for the long drive to Florida, so we rented a van. The entire drive my wife talked about how spacious the van was and that we needed one. I couldn’t help but think about the fuel economy and that our current car gets way better gas mileage. This got me thinking about fuel economy in strategic leadership.
Whether you are leading a church, an organization, a team, an initiative, or a project they all need fuel. Like any good pastor I came up with an acronym to help me explain the F.U.E.L. you need to lead strategically.
Future – Some pastors call this vision and others call this mission. The point is to make sure to communicate a clear and compelling preferred future. Ideally the preferred future inspires or solves a felt need. Without a compelling future then you are just wasting fuel. Your team will often burn out. This can happen when you change the end goal or direction.
Utilities – In this analogy think of your utilities as all the tools and resources you need. Some of the utilities you will need include communication channels, budget, curriculum, sermon material, time, or facilities. When a car doesn’t have enough fuel it won’t make it to its final destination. Leaders must provide the needed resources to make the future happen. Sometimes it means changing priorities or even reallocating resources.
Execution – Effective execution must be broken down into next steps. Sometimes next steps are listed as goals with assigned deadlines. There is a difference between wasting fuel and being efficient with the fuel you have. When leaders don’t have a road map you could drive an hour in the wrong direction. Repeatedly getting lost or making wrong turns enough will force you to run out of fuel.
Leaders – Every great plan needs to have the right leaders. The team executing the plan should be made of the right staff and volunteers. You would never put diesel fuel into a gasoline engine. It is important to make sure you have assembled the right team for the task at hand.
F.U.E.L is what will sustain your team through the long haul of any project or initiative. Think of each element like the dials on your car dashboard. You need to monitor them often to ensure everything is working properly.