Upward. Inward. Outward. Forward.

Decision making is more consequential than it was when I was younger. The stakes are higher. In my youth, my decisions were about me. Now, decisions are about my family, my church, the 20-person organization I lead, and my community. What I decide affects many more lives than just my own. Therefore, how I decide is increasingly important.

The timeless proverb, “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far go together,” has become a mantra these past few years. From my wife and children to my colleagues at work, involving others in decision making not only makes the decision better informed and inclusive of diverse perspectives, but also more likely to succeed. All the angles and blind spots are covered and the necessary buy-in and commitment is established to achieve the outcome.

Richard Rohr says in his book, Falling Upward, “Before the truth sets you free, it tends to make you miserable.” Finding a process to deal with others’ viewpoints – or others’ truths – helps a great deal in the misery of making big decisions that affect others’ lives. Lately, Ive been working through a model using the following steps:

  1. Upward – surrender all to God, in the grand scheme, you know nothing. “Seek first the kingdom of God and all else will be added unto you.” For the nonbeliever, step one can be replaced with humility.
  2. Inward – reflect on your ego and goals, what do you want and why do you want it?
  3. Outward – take your idea to the people it affects, if they are bought-in you increase your chances of success
  4. Forward – once consensus is achieved, take a unified step towards the goal.

The next few posts are going to break this process apart to evaluate its merits.


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