Monday, September 26, 2011

The Leader and His Decision

Greg's Photo (Phnom Penh)
One of the toughest responsibilities leaders constantly face is decision-making. Sometimes there are decisions that only the leader can make; this makes decision-making indispensable for progress. The inability of a leader to make quick and clear decision is detrimental your organization's progress on hold. A delayed decision is a delayed progression.

Why Leader Delays Important Decisions? 

1. The leader is unsure what to do
2. The leader is unwilling to take responsibility
3. The leader is afraid to take risks
4. The leader is not ready for the consequences
5. The leader is waiting for the proper time
6. The leader is weighing the best option

Ten Guidelines when Face with Tough Decisions

1. Don’t Rush to Make Important Decision
Although, some decisions are urgent and must be made immediately, others do not require you to act immediately. Premature decision brings improper result. Consider many angles before you act.

2. Don't Wait too Long
After praying and weighing the best option, make your decision known to your people. Waiting too long on important decision delays progress. 

3. Don't Try to Please Everyone
You need to decide regardless of the potential negative response. Trying to please everyone with your decision cripples the progress of your organization. There will always be people that will be not be happy with any decision. Strong leaders stand for what is right regardless of the outcome and the people's response. 

4. Make Sure you Have the Facts
Decisions made based on wrong information breed wrong results. I have seen leaders making important decision without gathering facts; the result was a disaster. It doesn’t hurt if you listen to many voices for the sake of facts. Even the most trusted source of information is insufficient.  
5. Get the support of your Key People
Just because you are a leader does not mean you make decisions alone. Of course there are decisions that only you will make, but never forget, there are people in your team. Before you decide on important issues, make sure the majority of your key leaders agree with the decision and direction you are about to make. If the majority of your key leaders do not agree, pray some more. Do your research deeper. If your key leaders buy into your decision, the resistance from the people will be lesser. 

6. Implement your Decision Slowly and carefully
When the majority of your people do not buy your decision, chaos will eventually follow. This is especially when initiating change. Even though change is the only constant, people do not like change. Because of this, you need to do it slowly. 

7. Go Against the Crowd
We all know that the majority is not always right, and going against the tide maybe the best route. At times, you have to make decision even if it is against the majority of the people. If you are sure that what you are about to decide is inspired by God, go ahead regardless of the people's response. Be willing to take responsibility when you do. If the people trust you, they will join you. Let me warn you though. You can only do this if you've got the full trust of your people. If they know you care about them, even if they don't agree, they will still follow. Don't do this unless they know you care for them enough. The leadership maxim, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” is true. If you are a new leader in a new organization or church, learn this maxim well.

8. Admit When you Made Wrong Decisions
No one is infallible. Even the godliest leader makes wrong decisions. Admit that you are not infallible being, therefore, your decisions are not infallible either. Be quick to admit when your decisions are wrong. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that because you are the leader and you represent God, your decision must be always right. You gain more people’s respect when you admit your decision is wrong. Admitting your mistake does not make you less effective.

9. Be Consistent, but Learn to Compromise
Stick to your decision; this is necessary. Don't forget, consistency matters; let the people know you are a leader with principle.  Nonetheless, you need to know when to be tough and know when to be gentle. Don't forget that compromise is not always a bad thing. It has a place in leadership. Learn to bend, when the big picture is at stake.  

10. Learn that, when it comes to Decision-making, Timing is Everything
It is possible to make right decisions but done in a wrong time. When the timing is wrong, even if the decision is right, it does not bring good results.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How to Leave Your Past Behind

Cambodian Garbage (Photo Courtesy of

Many people live today with the influence, grip and power of the past. They are prisoners of their past mistakes and negative experiences. The grip of the past hinders them from rising above their present circumstances. The power of the past hinders many from experiencing the freedom of the future. The shackles of past is hard to unloose. Yet, regardless of one’s past failure, the future is still future and the past is over.

In this short article, you will find some nuggets of truth that will set you free from the past and will allow you to look into the future with renewed hope. You need to realize that no matter what you have done, past is past. No matter what you feel, think, and do at the present and that no matter what others believe and think about you, your past is over. You may have tarnished your moral integrity, but who is without mistake and failure anyway? Past belongs in the past, and no amount of power and responsibility today can amend the past. Nobody has ever went back in the past and amend his mistakes. No one went back and changed history. No one has ever revisited the past and rewrite history. 

You may not completely forget what you have done and what others have done to you. The memories of your past may torment you when you lay at night. The questions, “Why did I do such a thing?” “Why did those things happen to me.” You may think, “O how I wish I can go back and change how I had reacted when I was tempted.” “I wish I did not put my integrity in jeopardy.” But you cannot back, no matter how hard you want. No matter how many times you say “I wish”, it does not make you feel any better. In fact, it will make what you feel worse. You should tell yourself, “I will do better next time.” “I will handle temptation better.” Saying “I will” for the future is much better than saying “I wish” for the past. Because you cannot go back and change your past, shake and throw what must be thrown away and keep what you must keep. Because you cannot go back and amend your sin, ask God to forgive you and then move on. When the memories of your past sin taunt you, the assurance of forgiveness can comfort you.

The pages of your life yesterday had been written. The sheet is full, whether what has been written is good or bad. BUT the pages of your life tomorrow are blank sheets. Because nothing is written in them, you can choose today what you want it there. You may not fully control what will happen today, but you do have a choice to make. While you cannot go back and change your personal history; you can change your future by making the right choices today. Yesterday is over but today is a brand new day. You can choose to move on regardless of your yesterdays’ failures or you can choose to be sorrowful from your past downfall.

The bridge that will connect you to the past and the future is now. What you do today determines what you will be tomorrow. Your choices affect your future. While you are powerless to change your past, you have the power of today to change your tomorrows. Don’t waste your time regretting what happened to you or what you have done. Instead, invest your time today rejuvenating for a better life tomorrow. Blaming others or blaming the past does not make your life count for tomorrow. Take responsibility today and you will be amazed what you will become later.

Just recently, I saw one of the young teens I once knew 10 years ago. She is now a college student. The meeting was brief; in fact, it was only a few seconds as I was inside of a car when I talk to her. I found out later that she has now a child out of wedlock, but still in college. Imagine the humiliation, the shame and the failure she has to bear. Despite all these, it did not matter if she had a child outside marriage. It did not matter if she was still in school. It did not matter if she still not married. What did matter was to complete her schooling. Getting married was not the solution to her pre-marital pregnancy. She had to take a responsibility for a better tomorrow, and she did.

The garbage of the past must be left only in the past so that the goal for the future will be achieved. For complete healing to occur, it is necessary that you revisit your past. Because if you don’t you will not be able to see your mistake and learn from it. Although past is over, revisiting it will allow you to reflect what has gone wrong and resolute what to be done later. What you need to avoid, however, is to dwell on them. Learn from your past and then move on with your life with renewed hope.

Even though others might be able to help in getting out from the grip of yesteryear  the only person that can unshackle you from the prison of the past is YOU, and the only power that can unloose you from the grip of your past is your positive attitude for the future. The choice is yours.

Lastly, don’t forget that there is a greater power than all humanistic and pragmatic approach to solve the garbage of your past. No matter how much positive thinking you will do and no matter how hard you try, you’ll fail without the power of God. Only He can do it. Will you allow Him to take control of your past and give you reason to move on?