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When high levels of uncertainty are present in a decision matrix, the risk of making wrong choices will increase.
Leaders crave facts like I crave pizza at the end of a fast.
More is better. While we must be aware of the need for speed to decide, we must also receive input to aid the decision-making process.
In my season of working with McDonalds' franchise owners, I remember a couple of years in which the cry for facts never seemed to end. Some franchisees had grown weary of "group think." The loudest and most demonstrative leaders influenced key decisions through behavior, rather than facts.
The process evolved with a willingness to accept facts to catalyze decisions. Data were applied to past marketing campaigns to help in the assessment of new proposals. The "numbers" enjoyed a time of counsel. There was a seat at the board table for hard thinking. Promotions were ended and started fresh because "key performance indicators" (KPI's) pointed the way.
I love a good fact. But, I've also learned that not everyone wants to be confused by fact-based decision making. Sometimes leaders just want what they want. "My gut tells me," this or that and "I've learned to trust my gut, even in the face of contradictory facts."
In one of my stops along the way in my career, I sat at board tables with high-powered ministers. Some of the men I remember had achieved a measure of success (large ministries.)
I observed that as the church grew, the leaders became somehow, smarter and "righter." A willingness to receive input seemed to decline as attendance increased.
I remember one meeting in particular in which people at the table were speaking about a future program and debate was healthy. Then the leader said, "God has already shown me what He wants to do with this project."
End of debate. End of discussion. God said.
I've also wondered why meetings are ever necessary if God said. I wonder in greater depth when I hear "God said," something different about the project a few weeks later.
Leaders who claim "God said," need good memories. The Lord is an author AND a finisher. Alpha projects are plentiful. Omega projects seem few.
When we gather at a decision-making table, I count on the Lord to speak to everyone at the table through the leading of the Holy Spirit. I also want to pray specific prayers for guidance. And facts will always be welcomed.
Leaders who are led by the Lord have predictable and consistent decision-making paths.
"Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:21, MEV).
Platform Tip No. 149
Work hard to keep your quantity of input equal to your quantity of output.
Read as much or more as you speak.
This is a ratio worthy of frequent review.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president–Media Group, Charisma Media. Sign up here for Dr. Greene's leadership e-newsletter.
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