Posts Tagged ‘decision making’

Committees Speak With A Single Voice-Leadership Tip

August 21, 2015

My Friday thoughts on leadership are targeting committees.

Most of us have no doubt served on a committee. These are groups of people brought together for a purpose. Sometimes it is a special occasion, for example organizing a reunion. Sometimes it is a standing committee formed to support a function or need of the organization. These might be trustees of an organization or marketing committee or finance.

Committees are rarely composed of only one person. Therefore when a committee meets several voices are heard. That is often why a committee is formed. Bringing in diverse points of view provides a better chance of finding the best solution to the problem that the committee is formed to solve.

When the committee decides, then it must speak with a single  voice. There may be members who do not agree with the majority. There may be background concerns or opinions. Whatever that may be, the committee must either report to the main body with one solution or tackle its work in a single direction.

That is where the leader’s role becomes crucial.

The reunion committee agrees on date, location, theme, entertainment, and the like. Then assignments are made to area leaders to get the various tasks done.

The finance committee must report its findings and recommendations to its governing board. The report cannot include the discussions and a variety of half-formed “concerns.” It must be specific in stating the problem and recommending actions.

The governing board leader and the committee leader must:

  • Clearly define and communicate the problem
  • Keep the committee discussions focused on solutions
  • Strive to focus on the business and not on personalities
  • Bring the committee to a decision regarding solution to the problem
  • Clearly communicate the solutions or actions needed to all concerned

If that last task is not done, then the work of the committee is subverted and desired actions will not be carried out. Argument and divisiveness grow in the organization. The problem festers.

We have all experienced the committee from hell where we drank lots of coffee and ate lots of doughnuts and talked endlessly (or maybe quietly checked email or Facebook while others talked on and on).

The good leader will keep things focused, minimize personalities, respect others’ time, and guide the group to a conclusion.

We Limit Ourselves

May 6, 2015

A TV series that ran in the late 1960s followed the travails of a baffled man who found himself in a village. It was a happy place. Everyone was smiling. Everything was clean and neat. It did not seem sinister, at least on the surface. Perhaps a little like that city Disney built outside Orlando where every thing must be the same. Nice and neat and clean. And everyone is happy all the time.

The man felt trapped even though very well cared for. There was no way out.

The man was in constant pursuit of Number Two. This person would be the gateway to discovering Number One—the true overseer of the captivity.

Gene Appel, pastor at Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, CA, pointed out something that resonated at a deep level. “Your past mistakes limit your future options.”

You’re a guy with a group of guys. Just hanging out. After midnight. Do I need to state that nothing good happens when there is a group of guys hanging out after midnight.

Someone has a brilliant (well so you thought) idea. The net result is that the whole group is busted. Arrested. Jailed. Tried. Even if it’s a misdemeanor, it’s on the record.

Now you want a job that requires security clearance. Oops.

Or, you’re a girl or young woman. All the other girls have guys. They all talk about the great sex they are having (or so they say). You’re guy applies a little pressure, and…now you’re pregnant. Yep, your future is now limited.

Our choices may not be that extreme, but they do limit future options—sometimes that’s good. Sometimes it’s bad.

When we are limiting ourselves, we had best do so intentionally. Stop and think about the future consequences of our choices.

Oh, and the man in the village? During the last episode he gains a meeting with Number Two. An empty chair is in the room reserved for Number One.

Number Two of course tells the man to have a seat. He’s been Number One the entire time. He has imprisoned himself!

What about you and me? Have we let our mistakes and poor choices imprison us? Time to break free.

You’re Late

March 5, 2015

Let’s take a look at some personal disciplines that will help you become successful however you define it. And personal disciplines spill over into spiritual disciplines.

Here is a story from a business book I once read. It seems a young man had a promising professional/managerial job. But he seemed to be going nowhere. He wasn’t really motivated. The bosses seemed to forget about him when thinking about people with promotion potential.

Problem was, he was always late. He was late to work. Late to meetings. Late with reports. He was always frazzled, disorganized, fuzzy thinking.

Then one day he faced up to his problem and decided to change. He set the alarm to get up 15 minutes earlier. He got to work early and organized his day. He arrived early at meetings and was prepared for the discussion.

His demeanor grew calmer. He became more organized and confident.

It worked so well that he started getting up an hour earlier so that he could read things that filled his mind spiritually and intellectually.

He began to be the executive that no one would have ever imagined just a few short years before.

It all began when he decided to not be late all the time.

Changing just one bad habit can change your life.

Making Decisions With The Heart

January 13, 2015

Emotional thinking. Make the big decisions with your heart, the small ones with your head. The electromagnetic frequency of the heart is ten thousand times stronger than that of the brain. The brain takes its orders from the heart.

Looking for practices to cultivate during the coming year, I ran across this thought from the head of an ad agency. I’m still pondering all the meaning of this statement.

Good salespeople know that we make decisions with our heart–or at least with our emotions. Logic and rationality come later to justify the decision.

Brain physiology has discovered that the links between emotion and brain are much more complex and deeper than we might have suspected.

All this flies in the face of 20th Century economic models that are built on the idea of an “economic man.” This hypothetical person makes only rational economic decisions. This person is fiction.

Do you know someone who makes, or tries to make, all decisions rationally? Do you know a person who can’t make decisions? Same guy. I’ve had clients who overanalyze, over think, worry, ask for more data, and never get around to making important decisions. I know many people, usually called engineers, with this disease.

With a heart

I’d like to play with the word heart that was used in the quote. Rather than use it in the sense of pure emotion, let’s take another look.

Jesus said that where we spend money reflects where our heart is. Jesus may have been the first cardiologist–he was most concerned with the status of our hearts. And what he meant wasn’t purely emotional. What he meant was the center of our life.

Where is our life centered? Is it on God? Is it on our own well being? Is it directed toward others? Is it on selfishness and greed?

Don’t take those questions lightly. After years of “heart” work, I still struggle at times with the condition of my heart. And just like I exercise, am careful what I eat, and take my meds to care for my physical heart, I also meditate, study, worship, serve to develop my spiritual heart.

I’m not sure what was meant in the quote, but as I develop the thought, there is a lot of truth. Develop your heart and let it be your guide in decision making.

Choosing The Right Advice

September 12, 2014

Fools think their own way is right; but the wise listen to advice.

I have had a very busy week with little time for reflection except in snippets. My own advice I should have listened to–as Yoda might put it. I took the last flight out of Chicago Wednesday. Delayed an hour. Arrived home Thursday morning at 1:15 am. Not conducive to getting up at 5:30 and meditating and reading.

What has been on my mind this week is puzzling out people who do not seek the facts of a situation, but proceed on rumor and innuendo. On the other hand, I’ve also run into people who go the other way and wait for all the facts to come in to make a decision.

The quote comes from Proverbs. Those who proceed to action from their feelings based on information that comes in that they feel disposed toward believing, will make bad decisions. And they will stir up divisiveness.

These people reflect what happens when a personality type tips out of balance. It’s when the “feeling/judgmental” type as described by Myers-Briggs goes to excess. This is where the wise seek out and listen to good advisors. They remind themselves that they don’t know everything and that maybe they should still learn.

The other type, meanwhile, is when the opposite, the “thinking/perceptives”, need to take in more information and more information and have trouble acting. That’s when you test your advisors, trust the proven ones and finally decide “I know enough to take action” and do so.

Philosophers have taught us from ancient times that balance is all important. We need to seek balance in our lives. We need to seek balance in our personalities. We need to study, think, act. Not act, think, study.