David Staal is the senior editor for Building Church Leaders and serves as president of Kids Hope USA. He has served on staff at Willow Creek and is a senior editor of Christianity Today.
He suggests that there are always four options available to every leader in every situation.
Staal describes leaders as persons who make things happen. But, what do we mean by things?
Here are the four options:
- The right thing. In every situation there are multiple choices, but there is nearly always a right thing. The best option is one that is the “well-thought, well-planned, or the most-likely-to-succeed” option. Leaders must understand the present challenge, and they must then see a path to the preferred future. That is the right thing.
- Something. Isaac Newton’s law of motion says that “an object at rest tends to stay at rest … unless acted upon.” When an organization lacks momentum or evident progress, it is in need of some new action or perhaps a fresh start. Staal calls this the first step, which must be followed by a second step and so on. Sometimes a leader just has to say, “Let’s get started!” While most Western thought tends to suggest that new ways of behaving begin with new ways of thinking, our Lord seemed to understand that new ways of behaving develop new ways of thinking. Could it be that people need more examples and fewer lectures?
- Anything. While I am not sure that I always agree that “wildfire is better than no fire at all,” there is at least some truth in the adage. Something … anything. At least consider new ideas, regardless of the source.
- Nothing. Nothing? Yes, nothing. Sometimes it is best to weather the storm and delay a decision until conditions are more conducive. This, however, is not a good first choice because one can easily miss the open door of opportunity. If rooted in denial or fear, nothing is a very bad choice!
Staal concludes with this:
Anyone can do nothing:
a leader, though, should always seek to do the right thing.
Or at least something. Maybe anything.
After all, leaders make things happen.
Let’s be Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed leaders!