Failure to Launch

There is this divide between making plans and strategies and launching. I remember when our church was planning to build our current church facility and we had done all the planning that we could do, we needed to say “yes” or “no”. One of the elders looked at me and said, “We believe it’s the right thing and we are behind you Mark, but it’s your call now!”

I remember feeling the weight of that comment. But there had to be a start to the project, a kind of starting gun, and I was the one to call the start.

I have heard of stories of people’s “failure to launch”. An idea is birthed, even the plan gets made, but there is no actual start or launch. Then you hear the “should’ve” or “could’ve” stories afterwards.

Here are some of my thoughts for a solid launch.

  • Conviction. You could use the word passion or vision here. But the essence of this is that unless there is a very real conviction about what you hope to do, there will probably be a failure to launch.
  • Proper research. So often people think conviction and passion are enough. You have to do research and get as many facts as you can about the project. The only thing worse than a failure to launch is a failed launch.
  • A Launch team. To quote roughly something I heard Bill Hybels say (quite some time ago), “…when you face a problem get some clever people around a table, pray about it and find the way forward”. Without doubt the things that I have seen launched well are things that have had good teams working on them.
  • A launch plan and time line. This could include three phases: A pre-launch phase where you do the planning and if possible do some trials. The second phase is the actual launch. And finally the post launch phase where you evaluate and make sure that the project is on the right trajectory.
  • Dry runs. If possible and depending on what is being launched, try some practice runs. This could mean getting some input from other people.
  • Find, copy, and learn from others. Usually someone else has done what you are hoping to do. Don’t let pride stop you from learning as much as possible before you launch.
  • Pitfall plans. Very few launches don’t have setbacks of some kind. Make sure that in your planning there has been a great deal of time given to interrogating potential pitfalls. We had a great propensity to self-deception!
  • Vibe. Again, depending on what is being launched, creating a positive vibe gives the project momentum before the actual launch.
  • Courage. There is going to be a point of no return. Know where it is and then have the courage to launch.

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