This past week, I was able to listen to one of my favorite speakers, Andy Stanley (www.northpoint.org), speak on making decisions. I’ve taken a couple of days to process the 3 simply things he challenged us to ask ourselves, and I wanted to share this with you and see what you thought.
Stanley was addressing the topic of “How to Make Good Decisions” and he shared that he had identified 3 simply questions to ask yourself when you are making a decision. I’m adding my own comments to each of these questions. Here it goes:
#1) Ask yourself, “What would my replacement do?”
That’s a loaded question. You come to the point of having to make a critical decision, and he challenges us to simply ask what our replacement would do, if we were to get kicked out of our position of leadership. This question causes us to think “beyond ourselves”. Sometimes we are stuck. Sometimes we want to make a safe or a simple decision. This question causes us to imagine what someone else would do given this same situation, and it’s a great question! If we’re not able to make the right decision, maybe our boss will put someone in place to make the right decision. Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Don’t make the “safe” decision. Make the tough decision if it’s called for. Be the leader!
#2) Ask yourself, “What would a great leader do?”
This question causes us to evaluate our leadership. We all know great leaders. We know major decisions or major risks that were taken, and we often idolize these leaders and put them on a pedestal, never imagining that we have the potential to be “great leaders” too. Step outside of yourself when making a decision and try to imagine what one of your favorite, iconic leaders would do if they were in the same situation. Again, don’t be paralyzed by fear. Be willing to take the risk if it’s called for. Be the leader!
#3) Ask yourself, “What story do I want to tell?”
This question causes us to think about the future. Stanley goes on to say that every decision we make is simply a story to tell in the future. We have to think about that story, because we’ll be forced to tell it. Don’t make a decision that causes you to be a liar, or causes you to be ashamed. Tell the story with pride! This question helps us to make the right decision. It’s accountability. It’s our legacy. You have the opportunity to write the script. Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Do the right thing. Be the leader!
Try this. Ask these questions the next time you’re faced with a big decision and see if it helps you to put things into perspective.
Russ Cline/May 2012