Dressed in Overalls: work hard to invest in the eternal

Working in the field

The key word for OneHope this year is execution. I’ve been praying and thinking a lot about what successful execution looks like in the context of the plans and efforts slated for our upcoming ministry year.

This unattributed but often-quoted maxim sprang to my mind:

“A mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed.”

Larry Bossidy says it this way, “Strategies most often fail because they aren’t well executed.”[1] 

Although I understand the intent of these statements, I only partially agree.  Strategy should not be seen as a separate activity from execution. They are not either/or proposals.

The challenge with pure execution is that it discourages us from questioning principles. Sometimes strategies fail simply because they are not fully developed.  Or if they are truly innovative, no one knows how to fully execute them ab initio because it’s never been done before.

What we strive for at OneHope is the both/and of “strategic-execution.” This is our goal as we roll out Outcome Based Programs around the world and launch new innovations like Bible App for Kids, Incredible Islands, OneHope Customized and Kindrid, to name a few. We must commit to the hard work of stepping outside of prescribed strategies and pioneering new ones—then executing to our fullest potential.

We champion and expect iterating, learning, evaluating and re-thinking at every stage of development and implementation throughout the ministry. This means we are intentional about hiring knowledgeable workers organization-wide and empowering strategic managers to unleash their effectiveness.

Our challenge in this course is binary. First, it means finding and acquiring new team members that are able to strategically execute with a deep understanding of our mission, vision, core values and DNA.  Secondly, we must figure out a way to spur on our existing global team to the both/and of the “strategic-execution” we desire to achieve.

We know that it is not going to be easy. Yes, we could continue with business as usual. But if you’re coasting, you’re probably going downhill. We know it will take energy and investment from every person and require discipline and intentionality to take the chance to advance our efforts to the next level. Like Thomas Edison says,

“Most people don’t recognize opportunity when it comes, because it’s usually dressed in overalls and looks a lot like work.”

We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and work, because we don’t want to pass up an opportunity to invest in the eternal. A few ways we are planning to do that this year:

1. Global Congress in July, where 70 OneHope leaders will gather to strategize, align vision, increase in knowledge and renew passion for the mission of advancing the Gospel all around the world. 

2. Invest in better technology solutions for internal communications for our decentralized team.

3. Recruit young talent that is passionate about our mission and invest to train them up as leaders.

4. Continue to build a strong missional culture. Our staff is given the opportunity to participate in OneHope programs beyond their work by supporting them in prayer and, if they so choose, by automatic giving from their paycheck as well. Deeply embedded in our DNA and always in front of every staff member are consistent updates and emphasis on how we are seeing mission fulfillment, whether it be during one of our weekly chapels, a OneHope Day of Prayer, or during our regular personal contact with our partners updating them about what God is doing around the world.

What are some other ways you have heard of or implemented to help harmonize and catalyze successful strategy plus execution methods within your organization?


[1] Martin, Roger L.  “The Execution Trap.” Harvard Business Review, (2010): 64-71.

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Rob Hoskins is the president of OneHope. Since taking leadership of OneHope in 2004, he has continued to advance the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. by partnering with local churches to help reach more than 2 BILLION children and youth worldwide with a contextualized presentation of God’s Word.

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