Effective Leaders Make Decisions

decisions

A decision is a judgment. It is a choice between alternatives. It is rarely a choice between right and wrong. It is at best a choice between “almost right” and “probably wrong”—but much more often a choice between two courses of action neither of which is provably more nearly right than the other.
Peter Drucker

One of the things I never anticipated as a Bible College student and as a young 21 year old entering the ministry was the enormous amount of decisions I would have to make. Small decisions based on what type of paper to use for a craft, to large ones such as how to advise people facing a crisis.

The problem with most decisions is what Peter touches on in this first quote from his book “The Effective Executive”. 

Most decisions you will have to make in life are not clear. They are not right vs. wrong they are not good vs. bad. They are usually between almost right and probably right. In leading others you need experience, intuition and trust. Experience and intuition combine to help you get things almost right most of the time. Trust in your team and ultimately in Christ will help you make good decisions most of the time.

Executives are not paid for doing things they like to do. They are paid for getting the right things done—most of all in their specific task, the making of effective decisions.
Peter Drucker

Leading is easy deciding is hard. Everyone wants to be a leader and to some extent everyone is a leader.

What makes you effective in whatever environment you lead in is how effectively do you make decisions. Effective leaders not only make effective decisions but they train others to do the same. Decision making that is shared is always more effective than decision processes that are exclusive and ideas that are horde.

It becomes clear that a decision requires courage as much as it requires judgment. There is no inherent reason why medicines should taste horrible—but effective ones usually do. Similarly, there is no inherent reason why decisions should be distasteful—but most effective ones are.

Peter Drucker

If you lead long enough you will find yourself making lots of difficult decisions. I am not a type A personality so making hard decisions are not fun for me. I have had to make my fair share of difficult decisions over the past few years and many of them of been positive some don’t seem to be as positive. I thought I would share a few different keys to making good decision in hard situations.

1. Know the bible. The bible is full of wisdom for you, but more than that, it is a lens to see the world. When you understand your bible many things that seem hard from the outside are made clear by submitting your life to the Word of God.

2. Pray often – Prayer is us exchanging our weakness for his strength. You want strength to make good decisions? Pray. Exchange your lack for his sufficiency.

3. Listen to those closet to you. They care about you enough to speak the truth.

4. Listen to those who gain nothing from your relationship with them they are often the most honest. Don’t dismiss people because they are “strange” or are on the cultural fringes. They have nothing to gain or lose by speaking out so they often do so with much more honesty and clarity than we give them credit for.

5. Give the credit take the blame. No matter how a decision turns out. Always take the blame and give the credit to others.

No matter how many decisions you have made that have not turned out well. Learn from those mistakes embrace them and keep going keep deciding keep glorifying God in all things.

The New Needs Friends

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In the book Creativity Inc, By Ed Catmull at one point he talked about the importance of protecting the new. He then quoted the amazing monologue delivered by Anton Ego in Ratatouille.

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to
our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and
to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the
grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more
meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times
when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and
defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new
creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something
new, an extra-ordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say
that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about
fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core.
In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s
famous motto: ‘Anyone can cook.’ But I realize, only now do I truly
understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a
great artist can come from anywhere. – Anton Ego

I have always been an innovative person who learns through iteration, trial and error. I find however as I grow older that I more easily stick to what I know because I know it works. The beauty of age is experience. The danger of age is becoming critical of the new. I meet many people who talk more about what they have done than what they are doing. 

Being a critic is much less costly than being an artist. Left to ourselves we slip into the criticism of the new rather than become a friend of the new.

Ask Why and What not How

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In my desire to lead well I have very often asked the wrong questions over the years. I tend to lean toward asking how and not Why. Because how seems like it will get me where I want faster. At times this is true. The problem with asking how is it very often can short-circuit the process that sustains the very things I am desire to obtain.

I never saw this in myself until a kids pastor I respect greatly said “Sam, when you have a platform what are you going to say?” I had honestly never thought of that before. What am I going to say? I had never thought anyone wanted to hear what I had to say.

3 statements new bloggers need to hear

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Writing is difficult. I often get asked how do I get started in blogging, and with so many blogs out there why should I blog? First of all everyone has something of value to add. The trick is learning how to unearth it yourself. People often know what they want to say but often don’t know how to say it. Here are a few statements that will help you get started and push through.

  1. Be yourself – Find your voice, write what you know, be transparent but not-self absorbed. The reality is that if you are learning or wondering something there is a good chance someone else is looking for information on the very same thing. There are others that have yet to face what you are facing now that you can be a voice to help them when they Google whatever is vexing them. For me the motivation to start my blog was the idea that I wanted to be for others what I wish someone was for me when I started in ministry. This has become my personal mission statement in every area of my life I try to be to others what I wish others were to me.

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”- Oscar Wilde

  2. Be consistent – Consistent trumps frequency – The Aesop tale of the turtle and the rabbit is the best illustration of how people blog. Many are Rabbit bloggers who start strong and blog in spurs that are often months if not years apart. The turtle bloggers pick a spread and stick with it. For some people that speed is three times a week others it’s once a week. The goal is pushing yourself but setting a speed you can maintain. People get used to the amount of posts you do. I generally shoot for 3x a week. I don’t always hit that mark but most weeks I do.
    The biggest reasons people stop blogging is they run out of ideas to blog about. The best way to overcome this is to use Evernote and keep a rolling blog post note where you add random ideas as they come to you then try to come up with new topics when you sit down to write. If you can’t think of anything consult your rolling blog post note and take an idea off the list. What I have found to be true is the more I blog the more I find to blog about.
  3. Be Generous – Give more than you take. Give away your best idea. I have met bloggers who were full of amazing insight and ideas. I was really impressed I then went to their blog only to be less than impressed. The reason is they were afraid to put their best ideas out there. I am not sure why but whatever the reason it hurts you, your idea and your potential readers. When writing, or creating, whatever you do give your best ideas away.

    Do not hoard your best ideas. Good ideas are like the flu the more you spread them the further they go and the faster they come back to you. I have found that working through my ideas in a public forum has helped me refine and clarify my thoughts. It’s not until I commit my thoughts to paper on a consistent basis that I see for myself what it is that I am thinking about. Blogging or writing regularly in any way allows you to get out of you the things you think about more than you should. Once you see them and others see them you can tell what sticks and what doesn’t.

    “No one has ever become poor by giving” – Anne Frank

 

Honored to be going to David C Cooks Tru Gathering again this year. I will be doing a workshop and will be part of the blogger team there. I so enjoyed my time at The Gathering last year the heart and the vision of the conference is so clear and so compelling.

Met tons of people for the first time last year and am looking forward to re-connecting with those people this year. If you are looking for a spiritually rich, intimate gathering of people obsessed with kids and family ministry I hope you will join me in May.

Date: May 6, 2015—May 8, 2015
Event: Join me at the Tru Gathering in Costa Mesa
Sponsor: David C Cook
(800) 708-5550
Venue: ROCKHARBOR Church
Location: 345 Fischer Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.