Faced with a problem or a perplexing issue, most of us do a lot of worrying before separating the issues, examining the facts and reaching a decision. Skill in making good, quick decisions is a result of experience and knowledge. Though quick, it can be well thought out, as the product of past experiences.
To make the best decisions and to become valuable solution oriented leaders and workers, you can follow a simple five-step plan. We see this plan employed in 2 Kings Chapter 7 by four lepers who had to make a crucial decision in a time of famine.
Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” (2 Kings 7:3-4 NKJ)
5 Steps to Making Better Decisions
1. Describe the situation accurately—give all the facts.
2. Line up other alternatives. All options must be considered. No action is a decision in itself.
3. Compare the various options. This is best done by considering both the advantages and the disadvantages of prospective choices.
4. Consider the risks involved in each alternative.
5. Select the best option on the basis of the total assessment.
In working through this process there are some guidelines you should follow. Some will be natural to you, and some will need added focused attention.
8 Important Guidelines
1. “In all yor ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). God wants to be included in all of your plans; consulted in all of your decisions and honored in every area of your life.
2. Don’t make decisions under stress. It is better to delay a decision than to make it when you’re angry, upset or under great pressure: “And let the peace…from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15 Amp).
3. Don’t make snap decisions. The spur-of-the-moment decisions are merely guesses unless they are backed up by adequate data. They tend to be emotionally driven, and rarely the best choice: “…Whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isaiah 28:16 NKJ).
4. Don’t drag your feet. The decision must be made sometime. Putting it off usually results in adding to an already overflowing inventory of unfinished business.
5. Consult other people, particularly those who will be affected by your decision or those who have successfully gone through a similar experience: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
6. Don’t try to anticipate everything. You’ll never have all the facts so you’ll have to base your actions on the information available at the time a decision is required.
7. Don’t be afraid of making the wrong decision. No one is omniscient. There is risk involved in every decision.
8. Once the decision is made, go on to something else. You gain nothing by worrying about past decisions and you lose the capacity to give your full and dispassionate attention to other important decisions.
When all the facts are in, a swift, clear decision is the mark of a true leader. He will resist the temptation to procrastinate in reaching a decision and will not vacillate after the decision is made.
When a decision needs to be made, make it!
Yours for the Multiplication of Great Leaders and Churches,
Dr George Hill
President and Founder of Victory Churches International