W51D2 - Decision Making

“When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves—praise the Lord!" - Judges 5:2.

Leadership is a joint effort that involves both leaders and followers and assumes the two have built some kind of leadership. The sense in today's verse is that when both parties do what they need to do willingly and enthusiastically, it is almost a spiritual experiencethus the people 'praise the Lord.' What does it mean that leaders 'take the lead'? It means they act like leaders and make decisions that set the direction and tone of the organization for the followers and other connected parties like customers, members, and suppliers. The leaders in Jesus' day refused to take the lead because they were afraid of the people, arresting Jesus at night so the people would not know what was going on. Thus they made poor decisions that cost Israel and its people dearly. The people had no leaders to follow and consequently the Romans destroyed Israel, the main cause being poor leadership.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to scrutinize your attitude toward leadership. Are you eager to lead, not so you can dominate others, but rather to contribute what only you can offer? Are you fearful, thus restricting your decisions and input, or are you confident and straightforward in presenting your ideas and experience? Are you politicaltrying to shrewdly maneuver your alliancesor are you acting in the best interests of your company and those you lead? And what is your attitude toward leadership if you are a follower?

W46D2 - Decision Making

"By me kings reign
    and rulers issue decrees that are just" - Proverbs 8:15.

Leaders should 'reign' or lead using wisdom in all they do, especially when they make decisions. The Lord expects leaders to dispense justice when they make those decisions. What is justice? It is the process that involves leaders taking the time to listen to the input and perspectives of as many sides of a debate as possible and then rendering a thoughtful and timely decision that benefits as many people as possible, without bias or prejudice toward the rich, powerful or famous. These decisions involve money, salaries, restitution, the investment and promotion of people, hiring, firing and the wise use of environmental resources. With so much at stake, leaders should seek the Lord for the insight they need to dispense justice every opportunity they have.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to reflect on justice in both your organization and your leadership style. Do you listen to people with divergent views and opinons on matters at hand? Do you ask God for wisdom as you consider facts leading up to decisions? Do you explain why you decided the way you did and give people a chance to debrief and even appeal your decisions? What can you do to improve the decision-making practices in your organization?

W41D2 - Decision Making

"Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God" - Leviticus 25:17.

The Bible can be so practical and down to earth. While it addresses issues like lying, adultery, stealing and relationships, it also may surprise some that it gives direction about basic daily activities like child raising, humane treatment of animals, and personal hygiene. Today's verse addresses decision making in the context of what was called the year of jubilee. In that year, all debts were to be forgiven, and no one was to take advantage of that year by not loaning money the year before or by putting off land deals until the jubilee was over. Leaders must be mindful of the spirit of this principle and not make decisions that take ruthless advantage of weakened or helpless competitors, employees, or suppliers, simply to gain a competitive edge for their organization.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to assess the spirit and attitude with which you make decisions when negotiating with others. Do you or your leadership team look to win at all costs, taking no prisoners as you drive a tough bargain? Or do you look for Win-Win situations, where your company can win and the union, supplier, employees, and partners can also come away feeling like they also got a fair deal? Do you see your negotiations as a war or a partnership?

W36D2 - Decision Making

"They looked for a way to arrest him,
but they were afraid of the crowd because
the people held that he was a prophet" - Matthew 21:46.

The 'they' in this verse was the leadership in Israel and the 'him' of course was Jesus. The leaders wanted to do away with Jesus, for they were convinced He was a fool and an enemy of God. There are two things that stand out here. First, they could not really lead because they were afraid of the people. If they truly believed this about Jesus, they should have done something about it. Leaders cannot make good decisions, however, when they are afraid of the very people they are assigned to lead! What's more, the people or followers had more wisdom and insight than the leaders (they recognized Jesus for who He truly was), which leads to the second point: Just because leaders have the title doesn't mean they know everything and are necessarily smarter or superior to those who follow.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to reflect on the things that may be affecting your ability to make decisions. Of what or whom are you afraid? Failure? Losing your job or position? Other people? Today may be the day to be set free by facing your fears and making a decision you have put off. Then ask if you have cut yourself off from the help, wisdom and insight your followers have because of an attitude that you are smarter than they are, simply because you are the leader.

W31D2 - Decision Making

"He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble" - Luke 1:51-52.

God brings down rulers who have proud thinking, because that thinking leads to proud decisions, which in turn manifest proud actions. And if there is one thing to which God reacts strongly and quickly, it is pride. God expects all rulers or leaders - not just church leaders - to render just and righteous decisions. Therefore, leaders must take pains and steps to insure that their decisions are not based on ego, self, insecurity or greed, but rather be rooted in humility - knowledge and admission that the leader has limitations and needs God's wisdom to succeed. Sometimes that wisdom will come through other people, which means that leaders must humble themselves and ask for help, thus following sometimes more than they lead.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to assemble your team one-by-one or together in the coming days (this can include your family). When you are with them, ask "If you were me, what is the one thing you would change about this organization?" Also ask, "What do you think is the greatest oportunity for growth and development we have as an organization?" Then listen for common themes in what you hear and make humble decisions with the input you get.

W26D2 - Decision Making

"After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them" - Acts 16:10.

Paul was trying to make a business decision as to which direction his ministry should take. He had tried several options but felt God's resistance. Then one night he had a dream, after which the team made a decision to depart for Macedonia, leaving immediately. Leaders are expected to make decisions or at least facilitate team decisions. Paul understood that staying where he was (doing nothing) was a decision in itself, and it would cost him something in the way of ministry effectiveness. As risky as it was, he set off in a direction that he had not anticipated and the result was that he took the gospel to the continent of Europe rather than through Asia.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you or your team maintaining the status quo because it is safer and less risky, especially with a team member who has stopped producing? Then you must see that there is a cost to doing nothingthat making no decision is a decision! Your Step today is to identify over what (or about who) you are making a decision not to decide, determine what that decision is costing you in lost credibility with the rest of your team, and the reasons you are so hesitant, and then act as quickly as possible to rectify the situation!

W21D2 - Decision Making

"With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught" - Luke 1:3-4.

Today's two verses give insight into how Luke decided to write his gospel. Obviously, the Holy Spirit inspired him, but notice how naturally Luke described the decision-making process. He was a scientist so Luke conducted research and determined to produce an orderly account of Jesus' ministry. Theophilus had commissioned this work, and Luke set as his objective the confirmation of what his reader had been taught. All the while, God was directing Luke's path in a most natural way, using Luke's skill, past history, gifts, and professional training to accomplish His will. Leaders should expect God to use and move on them in the same way when they make decisions,  in a manner that utilizes their gifts, experience, and purpose.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you facing a decision of any magnitude as a leader? Then follow the same process today that Luke did 2,000 years ago. Start out by understanding who you are and what you do best. Consider from where or whom the opportunity is originating. Do some research and consult with others. Get clear about the objective you have in mind as you make the decision and then trust that the Lord has been guiding you through your thoughts and the circumstances at hand.

W16D2 - Decision Making

"Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law,and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly" - Matthew 1:19.

As far as Joseph knew, Mary had violated their engagement covenant and broken their values as Jews. Joseph had to make a decision, but he was mindful of Mary, her family, and her feelings when he did. With all that to consider, he decided to divorce here with as little fanfare as possible. When leaders make decisions that involve people, they don't have to humiliate others to prove they are correct. This even pertains to interpersonal dealings that don't need to involve sarcasm, verbal harassment, or public ridicule or correction. Leaders' decisions affect people and their families, and they need to keep that in mind as they make them.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How well are you considering people as you make your decisions, especially about personnel? Today it's time to re-evaluate your termination policy to make sure it is as sensitive as possible to that traumatic experience for those being let go. Are you generous with your severance? Do you help those being released to find other work? Remember, you reap what you sow, so be merciful and God will be merciful to you if you are ever on the receiving end of a painful or difficult decision.

W11D2 - Decision Making

"If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die" - 2 Kings 7:4.

Leaders have to make many decisions and, even though the choices may not be many or good, they should follow a rational approach wherever possible. Notice in this verse the lepers assessed all their options as they saw them, and three of the four outcomes involved dying. Yet they decided to go and discovered a fifth option when they arrived, for their enemies had retreated. While making rational decisions, leaders can usually never have all the information they need, so they must determine to do the best they can with the information they have and act. In this case, a 'no-decision' would have been a bad one.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Have you been putting off a decision because you don't have all the information you would like, or because you don't like the options or choices? Today is the time to decide! Assemble your team, go over the information that you have, and then decide, for your ongoing no-decision may be costing your organization more than making the best decision with the limited information you have at this point in time.

W6D2 - Decision Making

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?" - Luke 14:28.

When leaders approach a decision, they must first be clear on what they want to accomplishin today's example, it is to build a tower. Then they need to 'sit down,' which means stepping away from the adrenaline of the day to be rational and circumspecteither alone or with trusted advisors. After that, they must estimate what that decision will cost in terms of manpower and money, balancing that with the benefits if the decision goes well. Finally, they need to determine where they will get the resources to complete the task. The decision-making process involves both rational and intuitive skills, both of which can be developed and honed over time.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today's Step requires that you examine a decision that you recently madeor didn't make. Did you walk through the five steps outlined abovevision, 'sit down,' estimate costs, determine availability of resources, and final decision? Did you walk through this alone, or did you seek out advisors and counselors to assist you in the process? Would you do anything differently if you had followed this process? On which of the steps do you need to improve?