Saturday, August 30, 2008

How to Make Tough Decisions

Making decisions is a part of life – it’s something all of us do. Sometimes decisions are easy to make; others require a great deal of thought. Some call for courage.

Those in leadership face decision-making responsibilities on regular basis that will affect the organization either positively or negatively. These decisions cannot be put off or not made. Someone has to decide and take responsibility for the outcomes. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But until such people have shouldered the responsibility of senior-level leadership, they have the luxury of being shielded from the consequences of their opinions.

Here’s a couple of insights I’d like to offer:

1. The Right Decision is Not Always the Easiest.
Of course everyone knows this, but the rubber meets the road when you make the call. Do you go with what’s easy, or right? Making decisions to pacify a few complainers or control freaks is easy. Making a decision for what’s best for a church is the right thing – but it’s tough because of all the fall-out. Fear of unhappy complainants causes decision-paralysis. Waiting for perfect conditions results in getting nothing done. Anyone can coast downhill; it requires no strength of character to go with the current. Sometimes you just have to step up and step out and make the call.

2. Some People Will Hate You for Your Decision.
You can’t make everyone happy. And really, you don’t want to. If that is your goal all you would have is a hodge-podge of constituents pulling you in a thousand different directions all at once! But when you step up and make tough decisions some people will simply hate your guts for it.

Look at the life of Jesus. He was constantly ticking someone off. It wasn’t because He was intentionally trying to be a jerk – it was because He was sticking to His call and mission and would not allow anyone to get Him off-course. So they hated Him and killed Him.

When you make tough decisions in a church (in a business, or in your family) people will call you uncaring, selfish, or a dictator. They will try to make life miserable for you. But don’t sweat it. There’s more important things for you to be concerned with. Besides, if you are called and anointed of God, then you are also appointed by God.

3. Don’t Allow Others to Cause You to Doubt Yourself.
This is when you get into the arena of “what ifs?” and that is not a healthy place to live. I suppose we are often our own worst critics. It’s okay to evaluate yourself, and resolve to do better next time. But NEVER allow critics to cause you to doubt yourself and your leadership. If you do, they win. On the other hand, if a trusted friend or accountability-partner suggests to you another view, then listen. Don’t be arrogant, listen. Just don’t listen to whiners and complainers - they almost always have a self-serving agenda and want to use you to fulfill it.

4. Stick With Your Decision.
If your decision was the right one to make (see point #1), then see it through. Regardless of the pain, discomfort, or temptation to quit, just hang in there. Be tough, and have more resolve than your detractors.

5. In the End, People Will Understand.
In time people will see the wisdom of your decision. Some of them may never tell you, but in their heart of hearts they will appreciate the fact that you did the right thing and didn’t waver from your convictions - even in the face of opposition. They will appreciate that you stood up and stepped out. They will gather around you and give their support. No one really appreciates a politician - even the preacher kind, (they use politicians). But they love leaders.

Now go do the right thing.