There were two decision reversals in large organizations last week that have been eating at me.
World Vision – Last week, World Vision announced their decision to change “employment policies with regard to LGBT individuals.” Then two days later, because of complaints from the Christian community, they reversed the decision. We can argue all day long about both of these decisions (let’s not!), but the fact that they decided to do something that they obviously seemed to believe in and then pulled the plug on it so quickly really bothered me.
SFA – I went to Stephen F. Austin State University. Last week, I started seeing petitions on Facebook about a new logo for the university. SFA wanted to update their logo to create a fresh look that went along with a lengthy re-branding process for the school. On the same day that I saw these posts, I had a school magazine in the mail that announced the new logo and the reasoning behind it. As someone who works on creating graphics for work, I analyzed the new logo when I saw it and sort of liked it. I at least liked the direction in which it was headed. They had obviously spent a lot of time and money on the whole process, and the school officials seemed really excited about it. But the very next day, I heard that the president of the university had come out saying that because of the complaints, they school would return to the old logo. Again, I was extremely frustrated!
Both of these decisions do not affect my life much. I have a World Vision child, but their initial and reversed decisions did not affect my thoughts on the sponsorship of my child. Our family has committed to the child, and we will honor the commitment to “our child!” The SFA decision really does not affect my life. It’s not going to make a difference to me which logo they decide to go with.
So why did these decisions bother me so much?
I’m tired of seeing leaders make decisions and then back down from them when there is conflict resulting from the decision. People do not like change for the most part, so there will always be unhappy people when a change is made. But I want leaders who are strong enough to make good decisions that they believe in and stick with them! If you believe in something, stand by that decision!
In the midst of all of this, I was reading Brandon Hatmaker’s book Barefoot Church, and I came across a section where he talks about this very thing. And it said exactly what I had been thinking! He says there are “three necessary steps in moving forward”.
1. Be convicted – When you are convicted of a decision that needs to be made or something that needs to be done, pray about it. Then pray some more! You know you’re convicted when you “feel something, know something has to be done, and (are) willing to do something about it”.
2. Be convinced – Do your research! Learn everything you need to learn about the decision. Make sure you know what you are talking about and what you are doing! Make sure that you are convinced this is what you should do!
3. Be confident – If you’re convicted, and you’ve done your research and work, then be confident! It might be hard. People might not like it. But believe in your conviction and work! Yes, you will probably doubt your decision along the way, but stick it out!
We need leaders who are all three of these things: convicted, convinced and confident! Being a leader is hard! I get that! Leaders question themselves constantly! And that is OK! It’s part of the process! But I want and need leaders who are bold enough to make decisions (even hard decisions) and stand by them! And I pray that I will be the kind of leader in my church and in my home that will be open to the convictions of the Holy Spirit, make sure I’m convinced on the directions I need to take and be confident in the decisions!
What is your experience with situations like these? Do decision reversals frustrate you too? How do you feel about leaders who do not stand behind their decisions? How can we better encourage leaders? To let them know we stand behind their leadership and their decisions?