“A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in
Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived” (Genesis 26:1, NLT, 1996).
FAMINE DOES COME
Genesis 26:1 describes a time when famine came, but interestingly enough this verse provides insight into the past. The key is found in “as had happened before” (NLT, 1996). Life has many cycles both ups and downs. Organizations follow the same cyclic patterns. An organization can live in plenty for many years, and faster than anyone could possibly imagine, a time of famine can strike. Seasons of famine and plenty can come quicker than you think, so no matter which you are currently facing know your situation could change.
BE PREPARED FOR FAMINE
As organizational leaders we must prepare for times of famine and do the best to keep our organizations flourishing. One way to be prepared for uncertain times is to set excess cash aside. Have you ever heard of a “rainy day fund?” Everyone knows rainy days do come, so it is important to prepare for them. Often we can see so many sunny days set before us, that we tend to lose sight that the rain will eventually come. Let me be the reminder right now, rainy days will come, but if you are still wearing your sunscreen and flip-flops, your skin will become slick and you will have wet feet! You will not be any good to anyone or anything. At that moment you will be focused on your circumstance, because you have not prepared.
PLANNING DOES NOT EQUAL SUCCESS
As much as you would like to say you are the perfect leader who stores up for the future, you cannot really plan for the unknown. You may be able to plan for some of the uncertainties that come your way, but there is no way to plan 100% for the unseen future. In life there are no large billboards that say, “HEY, watch out the stock market is going to crash this week.” Let me be perfectly clear, it is important to continue planning for the future, but you cannot know everything that is coming and when it is coming. It is necessary to be prepared for uncontrollable circumstances, but when your back hits the wall and you have done your best to plan, sometimes you must muddle through the grime and pull your feet from the dirt.
FAMINE CAUSES MOVEMENT
Just like Isaac did, famine will cause you to move! In an organization famine can cause us to become so uncomfortable that we begin to re-think what we are doing and why we are doing it. It causes us to delve into our processes and procedures to uncover often un-noticed areas of potential growth. Finding these areas can create new sources of success. These are typically the times organizations look under the rugs and find the mounds of dirt, which have been piled up year-after-year as they have continually been ignored. These could even be sources of the underlying problem, which has caused the organizational famine. In any event, do not wait for famine to come, be prepared and use internal and external evaluations to find potential famine causes.