Every single one of us wants to advance. Whether that is the desire to advance in personal goals or company goals, we all desire to advance. Sometimes, in order to advance, we must use something known as strategic retreat.
When people think about retreating in a certain area, they typically consider it as a result of some type of loss or defeat.
- You might choose to pull back from a business venture because things didn’t turn out the way you hoped.
- You might choose to pull back from a relationship because it turned in a direction you weren’t comfortable with.
- You might choose to pull back from a school project after realizing that it will end in failure.
All of these are forms of retreat.
But, could there be a better way? Could there be a way to retreat that is not solely defined as a loss, but might set you up for the future?
Absolutely! This is what I call strategic retreat.
Strategic retreat is the art of pulling back in order to set yourself up for future success.
While some type of loss or defeat might precede a strategic retreat, the defining element of this type of retreat is the manner in which you retreat, in order to have the greatest possible chance of success in the future.
When we started CityLife Church, one of the first things we did was begin a weekly prayer meeting. The meeting was great! We gathered in a local park every week and prayed for our city. This meeting grew to about 60 people, which was incredible number for our size of church.
A little while after starting the church, I decided to change the format of the prayer meeting into something else. It was a disaster! The meeting ended up being attended by 10 people by the end. I decided to reconfigure the meeting once more and return it to what it was before. The only problem? The meeting never returned to what it was…we would run anywhere from 12 people to 30 people on a good day.
I had to do some hard thinking during those days. I, along with my wife and a few others, decided to use a strategic retreat.
We decided to completely cancel that meeting, while at the same time choosing to do two things. First, we decided to put our primary focus on small groups that met during the week. By eliminating one of two weeknight meetings, it would allow us to devote 100% of our efforts into building one area, instead of two. Second, we decided to turn the weekly prayer meeting that I led into a prayer small group that was led by lay people (volunteer leaders) in our church.
For us, this was the best decision we could have made. By thinking through the need to retreat, then figuring out how best to employ the retreat, we were choosing to approach our retreat in a strategic manner.
Too often, we retreat without taking the time to process the consequences of our retreat. Choose to think through your retreat in a strategic manner, in order to set yourself up for your best possible success in the future!