Decisiveness and Leadership

If there is one thing that defines a leader, it is decisiveness.  This is that indispensable ability to weigh the facts, select a course of action, then execute it at the right moment.  When the heat is on and somebody needs to act, it is the leader who looks at everything, makes a plan, and moves forward without looking back.

Chuck Missler, US Naval Academy grad (class of 1956, pictured above), once said, “Weak men hurt people.”  He made this statement in 1982, at a gathering where he spoke on business ethics.  Chuck made his living as a professional executive in the Defense and semiconductor industries for over thirty years.  He happened to be teaching a group of Christians to be ethical and stable in their business dealings.  Chief among these qualities are decisiveness and keeping one’s word.  “The sanctity of a commitment” was a value he saw in short supply after leaving the executive suite.  At the time of this talk, he was CEO of Western Digital Corporation, a proven leader with ballast.

You will never get anywhere being wishy-washy.  Vacillation and inability to come to a decision are fatal to leadership.  In contrast, people will follow someone who knows where he is going and knows how to get there.  And with dispatch, knowing that time is too precious to waste with “analysis paralysis.”

When the pressure’s on, the leader cannot afford to buckle.  Time, money, confidence, respect; all are lost when someone positioned to do the right thing can’t make a decision or takes too much time doing so.

It is far better to make ten decisions and have seven of them prove to be good decisions rather than to wait and wait and only make two good decisions.  The reason is that although both decisions turned out to be good, the effect of waffling has compromised your influence.  Playing it safe often makes your followers feel unsafe.    Why can’t he make up his mind?  Are we staying or going?

Your high calling as a leader—whether as a husband, business leader, captain of a sports team, etc.–means being decisive.  You cannot afford to be ambivalent in the clutch.  It is charming when we watch “Fiddler on the Roof” and see it with Tevye the Dairyman.  In real life, vacillating is uninspiring at best and dangerous at worst.  It certainly doesn’t win our respect.

Being decisive and stable brings a host of benefits not only to the leader but to those who follow him or her.  You earn admiration.  You inspire those watching.  In the marketplace, if you can weigh the facts and act quickly, you’re worth more money than those who can’t.  If you’re a military leader, you will undoubtedly save more lives than you lose.

Here’s the challenge.  This next month, make a calculated effort to make quicker decisions.  Do this with anything from where to go out to eat to vacation plans to starting a new growth project, like a blog or exercise program.  Weigh the evidence, do a cost/benefit analysis and then act.

You’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

 

Suggested Resources:

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Chip & Dan Heath)

Decisiveness: An Essential Guide to Mastering the Decision Making Process to Quickly Move Forward in Life on the Best Possible Path (Sergio Craig)

 

Image Credit

 

Advertisements

Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires

Brian TracyI listened today to one of my favorite speakers on self-development, Brian Tracy.  He turned my thinking upside-down, as he often does.

Speaking on the topic “Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires,” Brian hit on the question of motivation.  Paraphrased, he pointed out that, more importantly than increasing one’s income to seven figures, what one must become in order to earn a million dollars is of paramount importance.

I’d heard this before, many times.  But today, it hit me in a fresh and invigorating way.  I’m not really the kind of person that would find happiness in more and better “stuff.”  Vacations in exotic and storied locations?  Sure, I’d enjoy them.  But I’ve a happy marriage and would gladly count an evening talking to my wife of twenty-five years a night well-spent.

In terms of self-development, however, he had me.  As I learned many years ago, many–perhaps most–of those with annual incomes in excess of a million dollars are “past the utility curve” with respect to money (to quote Chuck Missler).  Money becomes a way of keeping score.  “Am I contributing something of such value that people will give up their hard-earned cash to acquire what I offer?”  It’s a worthy question–one that will rattle you if you let it.

And it should.  Time, after all, is money.

To increase one’s income substantially requires tenacity, discipline, clearly-defined goals, continuous learning, and constant self-evaluation.

Okay, how about you?  More cars, vacations, and devices will probably not make you happier in the long haul.  But becoming the kind of person who can use his or her skills, carefully cultivated habits of work, and creative thinking to acquire a sizable income will.  Why?  Because, as Brian says, to do this, you’ve got to transform who’ve you’ve been into someone better.  Sharper.  Above the mediocre herd.

In a word: Excellent.

Are you up for this?

Image Credit

Decisiveness: Cornerstone of Leadership

Chuck MisslerIf there is one thing that defines a leader, it is decisiveness.  This is that indispensable ability to weigh the facts, make a plan, and then execute it at the right moment.  When the heat is on and somebody needs to act, it is the leader who looks at everything, chooses a course, and moves forward without looking back.

Chuck Missler, US Naval Academy grad (class of 1956, pictured above), once said, “Weak men hurt people.”  He made this statement in 1982, at a gathering where he spoke on business ethics.  Chuck made his living as a professional executive in the Defense and semiconductor industries for over 30 years.  He happened to be teaching a group of Christians to be ethical and stable in their business dealings.  And chief among these qualities are decisiveness and keeping one’s word.  “The sanctity of a commitment.”  At the time of this talk, he was CEO of Western Digital Corporation.  A proven leader with ballast.

You will never get anywhere being wishy-washy.  Vacillation and inability to come to a decision are fatal to leadership.  In contrast, people will follow someone who knows where he is going and knows how to get there.  And get there with dispatch, knowing that time is too precious to waste with “analysis paralysis.”

When the pressure’s on, the leader cannot afford to buckle.  Time, money, confidence, respect; all are lost when someone in a position to do the right thing can’t make a decision or takes too much time so doing.

It is far better to make ten decisions and have seven of them prove to be good decisions rather than to wait and wait and only make two good decisions.  The reason is that although both decisions turned out to be good, the effect of waffling has compromised your influence.  Playing it safe often makes your followers feel unsafe.    Why can’t he make up his mind?  Are we staying or going?

Your high calling as a leader—whether as a husband, business leader, captain of a sports team, etc.–means being decisive.  You cannot afford to be ambivalent in the clutch.  It is charming when we watch Fiddler on the Roof and see it with Tevye the Dairyman.  In real life, vacillating is uninspiring at best and dangerous at worst.

Being decisive and stable brings a host of benefits not only to the leader but to those who follow him or her.  You earn respect.  You inspire those watching.  In the marketplace, if you can weigh the facts and act quickly, you’re worth more money than those who can’t.  If you’re a military leader, you will undoubtedly save more lives than you lose.

Here’s the challenge.  This next month, make a calculated effort to make quicker decisions.  Do this with anything from where to go out to eat to vacation plans to starting a new growth project, like a blog or exercise program.  Weigh the evidence, do a cost/benefit analysis and then act.

You’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

Image Credit

Hear All Sides

I served as a pastor in three different church staff positions over the course of about sixteen years.  One learns many different things in the pastoral role.  How to wear many hats.  How to multi-task.  How to inspire a volunteer work pool to assist the community of faith.

Frequently, as any pastor knows, you are called upon to mediate conflicts in one form or an other.  A lot of these are marital; some are between estranged friends; others involve attempts to resolve some dispute as peacefully and equitably as possible.

One core value you learn rapidly is this: There are always two sides to any story.  And it is part of fallen human nature to paint our own side of a matter in the rosiest hues possible.  We all have blind spots.  Knowing this reality and acting on it will save you lots of headache and frustration.

There’s a proverb in the Bible that goes like this: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17)  There is a reason why cross-examination is foundational to our legal system, why rebuttal is a cornerstone of debate.  It’s simply this: Words are powerful and through their skillful or crafty use, you can make a logical case for lots of things—even reprehensible things.

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, had a method for dealing with theological  propositions.  He’d state a thesis first.  Then he would amass every conceivable argument against the thesis he sought to prove.  Finally, he’d deliver his arguments in support of the thesis.

We face things daily that require the hard work of thinking thoroughly and soberly in order to come to the truth.  One of the most healthy things you can do is subject your cherished beliefs and convictions to the “devil’s advocate” test.  Are you bold enough to look at the arguments of the other side in order to see things differently?

Here’s a couple of teasers to think through:

  • How much do you really know about the Trayvon Williams shooting? Facts, not protests.
  • Compare the behavior of the Occupy Wall Street protesters versus that of the Tea Party protesters.  Which group came down as more civil and law-abiding?
  • Compare the behavior of media personalities Lawrence O’Donnell, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow with that of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.  Any similarities? (Disclosure: I am not a fan of any of these people. Not even a little.)
  • Has the reporting of popular media outlets been equally balanced in the matters of the foul-mouthed controversial utterances of Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher toward Susan Fluke and Sarah Palin?
  • If executive competence were a prerequisite for the Presidency, of these three, who best met the requirement–Barack Obama, George W. Bush or Bill Clinton?

I’ve not given my own opinion on the above questions because the purpose of this post is to make you think.  (Don’t bother guessing where I’m at on these—you might be surprised!)

It takes hard work and brutal honesty to really come to a balanced understanding of so much that goes on in our world.  If you are lazy and want to believe a) mainstream news media outlets from MSNBC to FoxNews or b) your own untested and unexamined prior commitments, you will be in for a rough ride.  Simplistic thinking hurts you.  It just does.

A caveat:  Before you come down on one side or the other of some issue, take the advice of Chuck Missler.

Do your homework.

Image Credit

Decisiveness and Leadership

Chuck Missler

If there is one thing that defines a leader, it is decisiveness.  This is that indispensable ability to weigh the facts, make a plan and then execute it at the right moment.  When the heat is on and somebody needs to act, it is the leader who looks at everything, chooses a course and moves forward without looking back.

Chuck Missler, US Naval Academy grad, once said, “Weak men hurt people.”  He made this statement at a gathering where he spoke on business ethics.  Chuck is a very popular Bible teacher.   What you may not know is that he made his living as a professional executive in the Defense and semiconductor industries for over 30 years.  He was exhorting a group of Christians to be ethical and stable in their business dealings.  And chief among these qualities are decisiveness and keeping one’s word.  “The sanctity of a commitment.”  At the time of this talk, he was CEO of Western Digital Corporation.  A proven leader with ballast.

The Bible tells us in James 1 to ask God for wisdom but to do so without doubting.  Vacillating.  Up and down.  Wishy-washy.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  James concludes that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  And such a man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Boy, that’s tough.  But here’s why.

When the pressure’s on, the leader cannot afford to buckle.  Time, money, confidence, respect; all are lost when someone in a position to do the right thing can’t make a decision.  Or takes too much time so doing.

It is far better to make ten decisions and have seven of them turn out to be good decisions rather than to wait and wait and only make two good decisions.  The reason is that although both decisions turned out to be good, the effect of waffling has compromised your influence.  Playing it safe often makes your followers feel unsafe.    Why can’t he make up his mind?  Are we staying or going?

Your high calling means being decisive.  You cannot afford to be ambivalent in the clutch.  It is charming when we watch Fiddler on the Roof and see it with Tevye.  In real life, vacillating is uninspiring at best—dangerous at worst.

Being decisive and stable brings a host of benefits not only to the leader but to those who follow him or her.  You earn respect.  You inspire those watching.  In the marketplace, if you can weigh the facts and act quickly, you’re worth more money than those who can’t.  If you’re a military leader, you will undoubtedly save more lives than you lose.

Here’s the challenge.  This next month, make a calculated effort to make quicker decisions.  Do this with anything from where to go out to eat to vacation plans to starting a new growth project, like a blog or exercise program.  Weigh the evidence, do a cost/benefit analysis and then act.

You’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

Image Credit

Hearing Both Sides

Kennedy-Nixon Debate (1960)

I served as a pastor in three different church staff positions over the course of about sixteen years.  One learns many different things in the pastoral role.  How to wear many hats.  How to multi-task.  How to inspire a volunteer work pool to assist the community of faith.

Frequently, as any pastor knows, you are called upon to mediate conflicts in one form or an other.  A lot of these are marital; some are between estranged friends; others involve attempts to resolve some dispute as peacefully and equitably as possible.

One core value you learn rapidly is this: There are always two sides to any story.  And it is part of fallen human nature to paint our own side of a matter in the rosiest hues possible.  We all have blind spots.  Knowing this reality and acting on it will save you lots of headache and frustration.

There’s a proverb in the Bible that goes like this: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17)  There is a reason why cross-examination is foundational to our legal system, why rebuttal is a cornerstone of debate.  It’s simply this: Words are powerful and through their skillful or crafty use, you can make a logical case for lots of things—even reprehensible things.

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, had a method for dealing with theological  propositions.  He’d state a thesis first.  Then he would amass every conceivable argument against the thesis he sought to prove.  Finally, he’d deliver his arguments in support of the thesis.

We face things daily that require the hard work of thinking thoroughly and soberly in order to come to the truth.  One of the most healthy things you can do is subject your cherished beliefs and convictions to the “devil’s advocate” test.  Are you bold enough to look at the arguments of the other side in order to see things differently?

Here’s a couple of teasers to think through:

  • How much do you really know about the Trayvon Williams shooting? Facts, not protests.
  • Compare the behavior of the Occupy Wall Street protesters versus that of the Tea Party protesters.  Which group came down as more civil and law-abiding?
  • Compare the behavior of media personalities Lawrence O’Donnell, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow with that of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.  Any similarities? (Disclosure: I am not a fan of any of these people. Not even a little.)
  • Has the reporting of popular media outlets been equally balanced in the matters of the foul-mouthed controversial utterances of Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher toward Susan Fluke and Sarah Palin?
  • If executive competence were a prerequisite for the Presidency, of these three, who best met the requirement–Barack Obama, George W. Bush or Bill Clinton?

I’ve not given my own opinion on the above questions because the purpose of this post is to make you think.  (Don’t bother guessing where I’m at on these—you might be surprised!)

It takes hard work and brutal honesty to really come to a balanced understanding of so much that goes on in our world.  If you are lazy and want to believe a) mainstream news media outlets from MSNBC to FoxNews or b) your own untested and unexamined prior commitments, you will be in for a rough ride.  Simplistic thinking hurts you.  It just does.

A caveat:  Before you come down on one side or the other of some issue, take the advice of Chuck Missler.

Do your homework.

Image Credit

Be Decisive!

If there is one thing that defines a leader, it is decisiveness.  This is that indispensable ability to weigh the facts, make a plan and then execute it at the right moment.  When the heat is on and somebody needs to act, it is the leader who looks at everything, chooses a course and moves forward without looking back.

Chuck Missler, US Naval Academy grad, once said, “Weak men hurt people.”  He made this statement at a gathering where he spoke on business ethics.  Chuck is a very popular Bible teacher.   What you may not know is that he made his living as a professional executive in the Defense and semiconductor industries for over 30 years.  He was exhorting a group of Christians to be ethical and stable in their business dealings.  And chief among these qualities are decisiveness and keeping one’s word.  “The sanctity of a commitment.”  At the time of this talk, he was CEO of Western Digital Corporation.  A proven leader with ballast.

The Bible tells us in James 1 to ask God for wisdom but to do so without doubting.  Vacillating.  Up and down.  Wishy-washy.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  James concludes that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  And such a man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Boy, that’s tough.  But here’s why.

When the pressure’s on,  the leader cannot afford to buckle.  Time, money, confidence, respect; all are lost when someone in a position to do the right thing can’t make a decision.  Or takes too much time so doing.

It is far better to make ten decisions and have seven of them turn out to be good decisions rather than to wait and wait and only make two good decisions.  The reason is that although both decisions turned out to be good, the effect of waffling has compromised your influence.  Playing it safe often makes your followers feel unsafe.    Why can’t he make up his mind?  Are we staying or going?

Your high calling means being decisive.  You cannot afford to be ambivalent in the clutch.  It is charming when we watch Fiddler on the Roof and see it with Tevye.  In real life, vacillating is uninspiring at best—dangerous at worst.

Being decisive and stable brings a host of benefits not only to the leader but to those who follow him or her.  You earn respect.  You inspire those watching.  In the marketplace, if you can weigh the facts and act quickly, you’re worth more money than those who can’t.  If you’re a military leader, you will undoubtedly save more lives than you lose.

Here’s the challenge.  This next month, make a calculated effort to make quicker decisions.  Do this with anything from where to go out to eat to vacation plans to starting a new growth project, like a blog or exercise program.  Weigh the evidence, do a cost/benefit analysis and then act.

You’re going to be pleasantly surprised.