AT THE annual Far Eastern Division council in Singapore in November, 1972, the following action was voted, which brought into being the eight-year strategy that has since been named Target 80.
In order to realize the best possible results from the available resources and to develop a sense of corporate responsibility for growth and advance, we recommend the following master strategy of the future:
1. That every unit of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Far Eastern Division (including every institution, department, and person) establish objectives to be reached within an eight-year period ending with the General Conference session in 1980.
2. That every unit identify and make a list of priorities (the most important things that must be done) necessary to accomplish its objectives.
3. That every unit institute a strategy to accomplish its objectives by concentrating its financial, human, and spiritual resources on opportunities for growth and advance.
4. That every existing institution survey its evangelistic objectives and develop a plan to become a truly evangelistic center.
5. That the Far Eastern Division increase its capacity for mobility in order to help the unions and missions enter more quickly into areas of opening opportunity by allocating over seas budgets for evangelistic and pioneer work, the budgets to be held and directed by the FED committee in close cooperation with the unions and missions participating.
6. That each union mission be responsible to oversee the set ting of objectives and planning of strategy for each unit in its territory.
In his stimulating book The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker says, "The compass bearing itself is firm, pointing in a straight line towards the desired port. But in actual navigation the ship will veer off its course for many miles to avoid a storm. She will slow down to a walk in a fog and heave to altogether in a hurricane. She may even change destination in mid-ocean and set a new compass bearing towards a new port perhaps because war has broken out, perhaps only because her cargo has been sold in mid-passage. Still, four-fifths of all voyages end in the intended port at the originally scheduled time. And without a compass bearing, the ship would neither be able to find the port nor be able to estimate the time it will take to get there. . . . Setting objectives enables a business to get where it should be going rather than be the plaything of weather, winds, and accidents." Page 80 (Pan Books, Ltd.: London).
It's a Question of Priorities
In the Far Eastern Division's Target 80 program we have emphasized the necessity of following up the setting of objectives with the listing of priorities the things that must be done in order to reach the objectives. This is necessary, for there are always more productive tasks for tomorrow than there is time for and more opportunities than there are capable people to take care of them. Priorities should be narrowed to a few events that, properly accomplished, will result in reaching our objectives. Management leaders emphasize that achievement of truly significant results goes to those leaders who pick their priorities by the opportunities for growth and advancement. A few well-chosen priorities then be come a matter of first importance.
In school we were constantly admonished to do things right. It is true that what we choose to do should be done well. I don't re member the author but there is food for thought in the question, "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" Yet there is some thing even more important than doing things right and that is choosing the right things to do. Choosing the right things to do and doing them well by concentrating resources and energies on them is the essence of good leadership.
Allocating Resources Wisely
Resources, both human and material, are entrusted into our hands for one purpose only: to help us successfully reach our objective of accomplishing God's purpose in the world. No matter how well chosen our objectives or carefully thought through our priorities, our strategy will not be successful if resources are not concentrated on them. The biggest temptation that administrators face is to try to spread the money around so that every project gets a little. When spread so thin, however, the resources cannot be concentrated in sufficient strength to make an impact on the things of greatest importance. Our denomination has many institutions and rightfully so. The tendency, however, is for our thinking to become institutionalized so that we put more energy, thought, time, and re sources into maintaining the status quo than into those things that will do more to get the results we desire. The budget tends to be dominated by institutional maintenance. A successful strategy of evangelism cannot be maintained merely on the crumbs that fall from the institutional table.
We have to be honest enough to admit that in our church there are a great number of good and worthwhile things that are absorbing vast sums of precious resources but are not contributing significantly to getting our job done.
This rule of concentration may also be applied to problem-solving. Problems must be solved (or minimized) but must not be allowed to consume the best energies and resources of the organization. Problems must be kept in perspective. This demands a switch in attitude by which the leader sees himself, not as the chief trouble-shooter and problem-solver, but as the chief planner, target-setter, and coach to keep the organizational team inspired and driving with enthusiasm toward the goals of the organization.
Sewing Patches on the Past
There is doubtful virtue in patting one's self on the back for solving a problem, for usually it has little impact on the organization strategically. Peter Drucker gives us food for thought when he says, "It is more productive to convert an opportunity into results than to solve a problem which only restores yesterday's equilibrium." Sewing patches on the past should not characterize leaders of the future!
Some problems can be solved before they ever arise, but it requires a clear concept of the role of the leader, not primarily as a problem-solver, but as a pacesetter. Two questions are appropriate: (1) What do we want to achieve?---what results would satisfy us if they could be achieved? and (2) What prevents us from achieving these results? what are the obstacles to be removed? The next step is to formulate a specific plan of action to remove the obstacles. After deciding on the action required it is necessary to designate who is to take it and when the assignment is to be completed. These instructions need to be fully communicated to the per sons responsible, and adequately followed up.
It is important to carefully evaluate alternatives in the light of the objectives of the organization before giving one's vote to a proposal before the committee. Proposals are important by virtue of their relationship to or influence upon the master strategy of an organization. Again it is a matter of keeping things in their proper perspective. The following questions may prove helpful when you are pondering which way to cast your vote: What effect will this proposal have on achieving our objectives? Is there an alternative that would better achieve the results we desire? Is the expenditure of this resource justified in the light of our objectives? Will this expenditure (or action) measurably affect our results? Will it sap energies from the main task? Will it add to our capacity to achieve results?
These are some of the principles of management upon which the Target 80 concept is based. We might summarize them in these words: The leader of tomorrow is one who asks and honestly answers the question, What is the work God has given us to do? He sets challenging objectives in harmony with that purpose; he establishes priorities the things that must be done to achieve the objectives; he allocates resources and concentrates energies on the things that really matter; he approaches problems in the light of the objectives; and he claims the mighty power of God to energize and provide the spiritual resources to undergird the whole.
Not only are these concepts being applied by Far Eastern Division administration and departmental secretaries in the Target 80 program, but each pastor who participates is being urged to apply these principles to the organization of his church in order to assure the greatest results possible.