Having said that, my wife Rhonda and I have come close to binge-watching a series I recorded all last season but never viewed. Designated Survivor. We are now both hooked on the program and it’s making our summer television time more anticipatory.
For those who’ve never seen it, the plot is a good one. I’ll share Wikipedia’s description: “On the night of the State of the Union, an explosion claims the lives of the President and everyone in the presidential line of succession, except for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman, who had been named the designated survivor. Kirkman is immediately sworn in as President, unaware that the attack is just the beginning of what is to come.”
The intensity of the series is what grabs you. Next would be the complexity of relationships that must be vetted to develop trust. And determine whose loyalty to question. This makes for great intrigue!
One thing stands out most to me, however. Tough—almost impossible—decision making. The number of decisions a president must make, the voices of influence pressing their agendas, and the immense consequences of his or her decisions is quite staggering. And in the end, the president alone must live with those decisions and bear responsibility.
Of course it’s TV, and reality plays out differently. Our current president is faced with mind-bending decisions to make on North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia, China, etc. And then there’s the domestic agenda. Listening to press conferences alerts one to how many subjects where expertise is required. Thank goodness for very wise advisors!
Allen Webb is the editor-in-chief for the McKinsey Quarterly. He recently penned a piece titled, “Humility, courage, and decision-making.” Webb promotes another article just published in the Quarterly called “Untangling your organization’s decision-making" which he recommends for leaders.
His final paragraphs in the piece I read were the most important. They focus on three key themes McKinsey folk find emerging on decision making. My summary of the three are:
- Ignorance is not bliss. Leaders need a lot of information. As was written, “cognitive and organizational minefields surround most of their decisions.”
- It’s the process, stupid. (His words, not mine) Biases are hard wired into us. Organizational dynamics are insidious. Leaders need processes in place to overcome these two potential decision-making pitfalls.
- Wanted: humility and courage. Leaders must be humble to acknowledge bias and that organizational obstacles abound. They must be courageous in allowing the processes, not the will of the leader, to guide decisions.
My wife and I agree that one of our worst decisions made in our marriage was to “invest” in a time-share. Applying the three guidelines above, we lacked a lot of information that we needed to make a wise decision. We acted on impulse rather that a clearly thought out and well reasoned process to make a good decision. And we thought we were smart enough to make the move on the spot—not relying on good counselors to give us wise input. We did not act with humility.
In 1 Chronicles 27:32-34, several men are listed as advisors to King David, including his uncle Jonathan. Solomon also had wise men giving him counsel.
All of life involves decisions. Most are small. But many require great discernment. Humility, courage, and wise counsel are tools to help make you a savvy decision maker.
Oh…I also recommend you pray. A lot.
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Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to www.1160hope.com for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.
Allen Webb’s article: https://es.linkedin.com/pulse/humility-courage-decision-making-allen-webb-1