CEO’s Blog – 11/01/2017

Changes – in fits and spurts

My birthday being at the beginning of the year, my wife bought me a desk calendar; one with inspirational Christian quotes each day.  The one for my birthday read:

“God’s in the business of changing hearts.  We would be wrong to think that change happens overnight.  But we would be equally wrong to assume change never happens at all.  It may come in fits and spurts – an “aha” moment here, a breakthrough there.  But it comes”

The Bridge Trust is certainly in need of some changes during this coming year and indeed our Business Plan for the next 3 year period is being formulated and much is in there about changing our business model in the face of reducing income, new welfare legislation, new funding models and more.  We are not exactly changing our hearts, but we will need to change nevertheless.

One of my (very many) faults is that when I know that something needs to change, I can get impatient and want it to happen now.  There is often too much planning and not enough action.  Why bother at all – changes will happen anyway so let’s just get on with it!  Hmmm, well my experience has also shown me that actually planning is necessary for any business, even if those plans don’t follow their initially intended course, or are even changed completely along the way.    Of course life – business life, personal life, family life etc is not always like that and we have to plan and prepare and work towards changes, biding our time – sometimes with painstakingly slow progress.   

The message above reminded me that even with God’s involvement, changes do often come along, not in nicely planned tranches as and when we expect or need them to, but in “fits and spurts”.  I have found that days, weeks and months can go by with a project and nothing substantial seems to happen, then all of a sudden something appears as if from nowhere, and then the changes can come thick and fast – all too fast sometimes that I wonder how to cope.

Yes of course we need to formulate plans – it’s an oft quoted (if a little trite) saying that “to fail to plan is to plan to fail”.  But at the start of our year we must remember that our plans for any sort of change don’t usually happen as expected.  It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan but it does mean that we need to be flexible, patient and (to use another quote) keep on keeping on – i.e not losing heart or giving up, and accept that changes will come in those fits and spurts.

With my running of The Bridge Trust, I often doubt myself – am I pushing forward with the right changes, have I made the right decision, should I be looking in a different direction for an answer? 

But then again, I haven’t done too badly over the past 9 years at the helm of the Trust – the Trust survives and many homeless people survive to move on to a better life.  Sometimes this is due to fastidiously worked out plans, backed up by hard work and determination.  Sometimes it’s despite those things, or even luck – but mostly it’s with more than a little help from God, and yes, even God makes plans:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord” (Jer 29:11)

So here’s to 2017 and as and when your own birthday comes along (and it will do, whether you plan for it or not) I wish you all many happy fits and spurts.