Posted by: Steven Grabiner | October 7, 2010

INSIGHT: Deciding How to Decide – Part I

Read the first part of Steven Grabiner’s insights on decision making!

Learning how to make good decisions is crucial for any supporting ministry, church, or individual. Yet how frequently we look back and see where we have made poor decisions. We can all bring to memory decisions were made that either led to poor results, or that could have been better framed. One response to this would be simply to say that hindsight is 20-20, and that naturally we understand afterward what we couldn’t understand before. This is obviously quite true. Unfortunately it can also be used as an excuse to avoid the necessity of thinking!

As leaders, it is important to identify key areas that hinder good decision-making. Once they are identified, we can be intentional in making our decision process better. In other words, we can learn how to decide. This is essential for good leadership. Leaders know what needs to be done next, why it needs to be done, and how to get the resources together to accomplish their task. Thus, making good decisions is foundational to effective leadership.

Ellen White counsels leaders that speed in the decision-making process is important. “It is even more excusable to make a wrong decision sometimes than to be continually in a wavering position; to be hesitating, sometimes inclined in one direction, then in another.  More perplexity and wretchedness result from thus hesitating and doubting than from sometimes moving too hastily” Christian Leadership p. 50.

However this does not mean that forethought and planning should not be used. What is needed is a process that can help leaders see quickly the essence of the problem at hand. When the facts of a situation are known, solutions emerge with greater clarity. Here are some questions that can help highlight what you need to know, in order to make good decisions.

  • In one sentence, what is the basic decision I am trying to make?
  • What facts do I need to make this decision?
  • What assumptions am I making that may or may not be true?
  • Have I listened carefully to opposing views?
  • Am I being over confident or too hesitant?

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