The Elements of Decision-making

To lead in any capacity you need to make decisions in an efficient manor. You need to assess a situation and make a determination as to what needs to be done often with little information. One of the key distinctive of leadership is the willingness to make a decision even under adverse conditions.


Only executives make decisions. Indeed, to be expected—by virtue of position or knowledge—to make decisions that have significant impact on the entire organization, its performance, and results defines the executive. Effective executives, therefore, make effective decisions.


Drucker, Peter F.

Your effectiveness in life in ministry is a sum total of the decisions you have made. One of the things I treasure most was the ability to make decisions and the freedom to make those decisions even when they were not always the right ones. I begin making decisions as a young 21 year old kids pastor. Looking back many of my decisions were not effective. 3 years ago I begin serving my church in the role of the Pastor over one of our campuses. One of the most unexpected differences between being a kids pastor and a campus pastor is the speed, and the scrutiny of the decision process. Leadership is leadership but as a kids pastor my decisions were made behind the scenes. I had to think more in terms of the end result of the decisions I was making. This allowed for quick changes and a process that was fast and experimental by nature. In campus pastoring more people see and have a interest in the decisions that are made so I have to think more in terms of the process not simply the end result. Love Drucker’s take on the 5 elements of decisions making. I have found them to be very helpful.


  1. The clear realization that the problem was generic and could only be solved through a decision which established a rule, a principle;

  2. The definition of the specifications which the answer to the problem had to satisfy, that is, of the “boundary conditions”;

  3. The thinking through what is “right,” that is, the solution which will fully satisfy the specifications before attention is given to the compromises, adaptations, and concessions needed to make the decision acceptable;

  4. The building into the decision of the action to carry it out;

  5. The “feedback” which tests the validity and effectiveness of the decision against the actual course of events.

    Drucker, Peter F.

To make good decisions you have to know your culture, your pastor and your context. Decisions are never made in a vacuum and they are rarely made in perfect conditions. One of the things that I am still learning in terms of decision making is that temporary decisions are with you far longer than you would would ever imagine.


One of the most obvious facts of social and political life is the longevity of the temporary. British licensing hours for taverns, for instance, French rent controls, or Washington “temporary” government buildings, all three hastily developed in World War I to last “a few

months of temporary emergency” are still with us fifty years later. The effective decision-maker knows this. He too improvises, of course. But he asks himself every time, “If I had to live with this for a long time, would I be willing to?” And if the answer is “No,” he keeps on working to find a more general, a more conceptual, a more comprehensive solution—one which establishes the right principle.

Drucker, Peter F. (2009-10-06). The Effective Executive


To lead effectively in life and ministry you need to be a good decision maker if I would add one thing to Drucker’s elements of good decision makers I would add being lead by the spirit.


Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

Psalm 127:1


Christ builds the church. We need the guidance of his Spirit. Without it our best efforts and decisions will be made in vain.


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