Saturday, January 18, 2014

What Everyone Knows Is Usually Wrong

I keep a running list of what I call “board member temptations.”
  Here’s a common one:

“To make board decisions based on anecdotes and less-than-stellar analysis—versus requiring thoughtful and objective data, reports and dashboards that are in alignment with a God-inspired mission statement, Big Holy Audacious Goal (B.H.A.G.), crystal clear annual S.M.A.R.T. goals, and a strategic plan rooted in spiritual discernment.”

So this week when I read the new book, The Practical Drucker: Applying the Wisdom of the World’s Greatest Management Thinker, by William A. Cohen, I was reminded of this temptation. Peter Drucker, the father of modern management preached:
“What everyone knows
is usually wrong.”

The author notes, “What Drucker wanted to emphasize was that we must always question our assumptions, no matter from where they originate. This is especially so regarding anything that a majority of people ‘know’ or assume without questioning.” 

We’ve all been there.  The board is wrestling with an important decision—and a board member pontificates, “Well everyone knows that ABC equals XYZ! Let’s just go with Plan A and move on.”

Caution! We must not be intimidated by the bluster or the “everyone knows” rhetoric of a self-confident, self-appointed spokesperson for personal opinion that masquerades as objective truth.  We must not yield to the temptation to substitute anecdote for analysis. The voice and wisdom of Drucker needs to echo through our meetings:
“What everyone knows is usually wrong.”

In our journey to be Christ-centered board members, our opinions and interactions must be grounded in graciousness and generosity first, and then supported by data and discernment. In addition to the wisdom from the world’s greatest management thinker (who was also a Christ-follower), we are abundantly blessed to have direct access to the One the hymn describes as “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.”

QUESTION: In board meeting interactions, how will you inspire your members to graciously move from anecdote-based decisions to data-based and discernment-based decisions?

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