Weekly Thought – January 3, 2017
Fred commented on New Year’s Resolutions: “They are usually last year’s regrets.” He was a proponent of healthy decision making, not emotional short-term reactions.
2017 is a year of promise for BWF. In addition to three campus events, we will be planning for a conference in 2018 titled “What’s Next.” More details will follow. Please pray for us as we start quickly with leadership institutes in February and April.
Our life is a network of decisions. A few are vital, but many more are more mundane. For example, the choice of a spouse and the decision to have children are two of the most critical, long-ranging. Buying a new suit is shorter term and less important – unless it results in a major fashion faux pas! And I have personal experience with this. A waitress once welcomed me to breakfast in a familiar place with a smile and, “Good morning, Mr. Smith, I see you dressed yourself today!”
Decision making is both an art and a science. I have known men and women who have the intuition for excellent decisions. They usually have the capacity to both see problems and solution possibilities. Charles Kettering, the automotive genius, once said, “A problem well-defined is half solved.” Other friends have said, “Knowing the options is the secret of good decision making.”
Executive and cabinet leader Robert McNamara had a regular management practice. Before he would accept a recommendation he would ask, “What other options did you reject before you chose this one?” When the answer was a sheepish admission that this was the first option, they would be sent back to reconsider and bring other options.
In order to pick the best option, you must know what the object of the decision is. Is this decision to solve a problem or open up a possibility? A key element of good decision making is recognizing the reality of the environment. I work to set aside all but the facts of the situation. When I have moved away all the emotional factors I can look rationally at the work that needs to be done. Too many people consider what they wish the situation were, what they hope it will be, without holding to the reality of what is.
Then I think through the ramifications of each option, as unemotionally as possible. I want to consider how each possibility would be implemented and executed. To make a decision without understanding the implications is poor leadership. So, I travel down the road with each option looking for potholes, faulty assumptions, and undesired outcomes. Good decision making is a satisfactory experience and worth the effort.
When this isn’t done, policies can be put in place which end up very ineffective, making management look weak. A good decision is structurally sound and effectively executed.
This week carefully consider: 1) What decision needs to be made this week? 2) How do I connect faith and decision making? 3) Who models good decision making?
Words of Wisdom: “Too many people consider what they wish the situation were, what they hope it will be, without holding to the reality of what is.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Whatever you decide on a matter, it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.” (Job 22:28 NET Bible)