Leadership in Communications: Know Your Next Step

next steps leadership
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

next steps leadershipIn the previous post in this Leadership in Communications series, we discussed that An Inspiring Vision is A Communication Leader’s #1 Tool.

So, let’s say you know your organization can communicate much more effectively than it is now. You’ve got clear and compelling vision. You share your vision with your boss, board that makes budgeting decisions, a peer who you’re encouraging to give you content by a regular basis, and to your amazement they say, “That sounds like a great idea. How do we make that happen?”

You don’t want your answer to be, “Wow, you know, I’m not sure. I never thought we’d get this far. Let me research it and get back to you.”

Every great vision calls people to action!

If you’re going to approach your boss about getting your organization started in social media, know ahead of time what you want from him to make it happen. Maybe it’s permission to create a Twitter profile and Facebook page and begin posting on behalf of your org. Maybe it’s permission to add social media links to your website. Maybe it’s to make an announcement about your new social media presence in the next bulletin, e-newletter, or worship service.

If you’re going to approach your finance board to request funds for a new website or SEO service, how much are you going to ask for? Obviously, this is going to require some research and planning ahead of time.

Don’t Get Stuck in Planning

While you will never realize your communications vision if you don’t know the first step to getting there, you also will never realize your communications vision if you try to plan out every detail of the journey before taking your first step.

The future is too unpredictable anyway.

You may know your organization needs a new website and have a vision for the most important things it will do, but you can’t know every page or functionality it will have before you start. You may have a vision for how your organization can use social media to make new connections, build community, and facilitate conversations, but you can’t know what kinds of posts are going to resonate most with your community. You may be passionate about optimizing your website to dramatically increase the number of relevant visitors to your website, but you can’t know every optimization and link building strategy you’re going to use up front.

I recently heard Len Schlesinger, the President of Babson College (one of the top business schools in the world) give a talk in which he said…

“If you can’t predict the future, create it…

You can’t think your way into an unknowable future, you must act.”

Operate between the extremes of have having no plan and over-planning. Know your next step (or two or three).

When you share your communications vision with someone, know what you want them to do, call them to action.

  1. What is the next step towards your communications vision?
  2. Who do you need to share your vision with and what are you going to ask them to do?

3) An Inspiring Vision: A Communication Leader’s #1 Tool <– Leadership in Communications –> 5) You Have Not Because You Ask Not

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.


  • Love your quote, “If you can’t predict the future, create it… …" I have a vision for one of the churches I've been a part of that was dying but is slowly coming back to life, I need to share with a couple of their leaders a vision I've been having for them. I'm excited about God is doing and what's yet to come for this church and other places. Thanks for the reminder to share!

  • Hi Paul,
    Another great post. And as humans we will at times agree to disagree. Len's idea of "You can’t think your way into an unknowable future, you must act.” is cautionary. Though I realize we don't sit idle & wait forever…Many times becuz of our haste" to must act" verses "not waiting on the Lord" to speak or HIS plan. We miss out on what was better for us, our church,our business. The Apostle Paul & Kind David were not ignorant men. But at times they did not act (and could have still in my estimation came up with great ideas of their own doing.) Instead they waited and prayed through choosing God's blueprint and plan. Sometimes they learned this the hard way of acting without consulting him. Like when David took the second census. Blessings on what you do…

    • Linda, that's a great point. We certainly need to wait on the Lord and hear from the Lord. As I look in scripture and in my own life, I've found God often doesn't give us the entire map up front but rather a compass pointing us in the right direction. That's why it's important to avoid the two extremes – having no plan and not doing anything until every detail is planned.

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