There are those moments in leadership when you have to make quick decisions. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that sometimes we just have to move forward with limited information.
Like every decision a leader makes, the decision impacts others. These are decisions that are hard to make, with plenty of time to make them. Decisions that will be hard to reverse. Decisions that you would usually spend days, weeks or months deciding—but it has to be made now. There is no choice.
You might wish you had more time to make them, but you don't. Every leader I know has those moments. Unfortunately, the larger an organization grows, the more they seem to occur.
During a pandemic, it hasn't mattered how large or small the organization—you simply had to act. And many times, you had to act now.
What do you do?
First, my experience is this is still a rare occurrence in leadership—or at least you should attempt to make it so. Many times, we feel we have to move faster than we really do. My advice is to try not to make quick decisions any more than possible. Proverbs says, "haste makes mistakes" (Prov. 19:2, NLT).
There are times, however, when, as a leader, you simply have to move forward. So, when you do, here are a few ways to make better quick decisions.
Here are seven ways to make decisions fast:
1. Pray: Sentence prayers work. Ask God His opinion on the matter. He cares about the smallest details of your life. He may be doing something bigger than you can imagine, however, so He may allow you freedom to choose, knowing that He will work things for an ultimate good. Ask for His input first, though. And part of this is developing a close enough relationship with God where if He's trying to speak to you, you will know His voice in your life.
2. Check your boundaries: Hopefully you have certain lines you will not cross. Does this decision cross any of them? If so, wait. If not, you're freer to move forward.
3. Take the emotion out of it: Emotional decisions are seldom rational decisions. Do I need to say this one again? If you haven't considered the black and white decision, if there is one, do this first. As much as possible, try to remove your personal agenda and your emotional response from the answering of the question at hand.
4. Phone a friend: Moments like these are why you need people in your corner who can quickly speak truth into your life. I have a few friends who always take my call. Before I "pull the trigger," I'm pushing the speed dial. God created us for community—and we are better when we operate within His plan.
5. Pull from past experiences: You may not have made this decision, but you've made other decisions in your life. Try to pull in as close a parallel as you can. Glean from your successes and your failures. Oftentimes, God will build upon our past. He's working from an established plan. Don't forget this.
6. Don't let fear dominate: Fear is always a part of decision-making, especially if it involves a risk of any kind. Fear can sometimes be a protector, so don't ignore it, but don't let it be the dominate decider, either. The hardest and scariest decisions are often the most needed.
7. Trust your gut: You've made good decisions before, haven't you? Or even if you feel you haven't, you probably learned from that experience. You will seldom be 100% certain about any decision. We usually have to act upon what we do know. We have a sense of right and wrong, which allows us to know when we are making blatant errors. So, go with the gut when it says, "this is the right decision." Many times you'll be right. And if not, you'll learn from that too.
Those are a few suggestions. Keep in mind, you will make mistakes this way. When you have to make quick decisions, you will get burnt at times. I'm not pretending you won't.
But there are times where a quick decision is needed. When this happens, it is called leadership. Don't shy away from it simply because of the timing.
Ron Edmondson is a church and organizational leadership consultant. Most recently he was CEO of Leadership Network. Previously, he was a pastor, revitalizing two churches and planting two churches. He has also been a church leadership consultant.
For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.
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