What does it take to make the right decisions for your organization?
There is a fascinating story about a young man who was becoming king after his father. The people of the nation came to him and said: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but if you lighten the harsh labor and heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”
The new king answered: “Go away for three days and then come back to me for an answer.”
During these three days, the new king consulted the elders who had served his father. “How would you advise me to answer these people?”
The elder counselors replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will also be your subjects and servants and there will be peace.”
Then, the new king consulted the wise young men of the palace who had grown up with him. “What is your advice?” he asked them. They replied with this: “Tell them, ‘my little finger is stronger and more powerful that my father’s entire body.’ If you thought that was a heavy load, you haven’t seen anything yet! My father gave you a heavy yoke, and I will double it. Show them who is boss!”
Three days later, the people came back to the new king for his response.
Rejecting the advice of the elders, he answered them harshly and told the people, “My father gave you heavy yoke, I will make it heavier.”
Almost overnight, as the young king sent his labor leaders out to the kingdom, the people revolted, stoned the king’s representatives and caused the king to flee on chariot. The young king’s kingdom split and remained a mess until his death a few years later. The revolting people chose a new king and there was strife between the two kingdom from then on. [1 Kings 12,13,14]
To make decisions that help our organizations grow, we must:
- Seek out the advice of older, wiser leaders.
- Seek to be a servant to the people you lead – advice that could be given by wise people, young or old.
- Don’t think too highly of yourself.
- We must treat people like human beings, created by God.
- Make decisions based on the greater good of the people.
And we must understand the impact our decisions have:
- On the people we lead
- On us
- On our families, for future generations.
One more note on waiting three days to give this answer. In some ways, this was a wise move, time to consider the request. Part of the art of leadership is timing. This phrase, in some ways, was great because it gave a timeline and an action, “come back in three days and I will have an answer.” He started off strong, then it went haywire. The request seemed fairly simple – with the end result being that the people would be faithful to the king for all of his rule. It should have been fairly simple and he could have answered quickly, with his gut instinct. Sometimes, we wait too long to answer things that are simple, other times we answer too quickly the things that are complex.
What decisions are you making today? Will your decision help your organization grow or decline? Have you gathered people around you to get wisdom and advice?