10 Ways to Improve Decisions

which comes first: deciding or discussing?

I have an idea and I think we ought to do it.  Let me tell you where I saw it work.  Here are reasons I think we should do it here…Brother Famous Preacher and Brother Dedicated Elder in another congregation endorse this wholeheartedly.  I’ve already talked with a couple of you and I know you think it is good for us.  Does everyone agree I should announce this Sunday?”

Where was the discussion of the proposed idea?

Could it have been improved if others had questioned and contributed?

Could it and should it have been evaluated and ignored if the group had sufficient input?

I’ve observed in some leadership groups, the amount and speed of decisions made depend on the forcefulness of the personality of the person leading the meeting.

Perhaps it would be helpful in getting the wisdom of the group to recognize the difference in

  1. Discussion.
  2. Decision.

Ways to Encourage More Productive Discussion and Decisions in the Group

  1. Realize it is healthy in making group decisions to receive the thinking of everyone in the group before making a decision.
  2. Maintain a policy not to have meetings before the meeting to decide what is going to be decided in the meeting. [tweetthis]Maintain a policy not to have meetings before the meeting to decide what is going to be decided in the meeting.[/tweetthis]
  3. Permit each one to share his thoughts before evaluating.
  4. Do not take part in or permit devaluing of thoughts and suggestions that shuts someone down.
  5. Encourage those who say little or nothing to share what they think.  Often people who speak least think most.  Good thinking can result in better decisions.
  6. List at least three solutions to an issue before deciding on the best one.
  7. After coming to the best solution, consider the exact opposite.  Is there a solution between what you thought best and the extreme opposite that would be better than your first solution?
  8. After allowing everyone to contribute to the discussion, pray for wisdom from God to decide what is best and to carry out the decision according to His will.
  9. Is this a decision that might be improved with a few days of thinking before acting on it?
  10. Is this a decision long overdue because we talked it and thought it to death without any action?

When a forceful personality begins to present ideas with enthusiasm, it is hard for less assertive people to express themselves.  When this is done repeatedly, it is the beginning of the group instating a head elder.  This defeats the Biblical example of a plurality of Shepherds.

There is value in a group of men with different personalities, experiences, and backgrounds participating in shepherding and overseeing the Lord’s people with wisdom rather than agreeing with a dominant person.

What have you seen to encourage better discussion and decisions from the group?

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4 thoughts on “10 Ways to Improve Decisions

  1. Maybe a head elder isn’t so bad if that man believes in getting everyone’s input first and seeking the Lord’s will in prayer.

  2. As always, good stuff……..I have observed two extremes….discussing something to death without making a decision, or political manauvering which negates the value of genuine discussion and input from the group. Both are equally bad. Ray Frizzell, an elder at Crieve Hall and one of my former Scout Masters instilled in me long ago the value of creating meeting agenda’s with adequate time for discussion and decision. Brother Ray recently died and I shared with his sons that this was one of his great contributions to my life. If you attended a meeting he was in charge of, you knew it was going to be insightful and productive. (and sometimes brief) I’m sorry to say some of our business meetings in our church family are not always that way. At other times those meetings get to the heart of things, everyone has their say, no “one” their way….and the church family reaps the rewards. It is amazing how far common sense will carry you when conducting “church” business! Jerrie, thanks for sharing good stuff!!!!

    • Jeff, This is one of the best ways to learn: observing a principle practiced. We can watch it in action and see the results.