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Your Next Hard Decision
2023-09-21 Champions Weekly
1. Saddle Your Donkey
What is the most difficult problem you’re dealing with right now?
If you’re like me, trying to do new things, you probably have several current problems to resolve. Being the Decider is one of the joys and challenges of leadership, whether you’re leading a large organization or trying to wrangle your next book. In particular, entrepreneurial leadership, or the work of making new things, means you are navigating a new path without benefit of precedent and existing systems.
I heard a study about decision making that may help from D. Michael Lindsay, sociologist and President of Taylor University while at the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association C-Suite Symposium this week.
Lindsay’s resume is too long to summarize here. Among many notable achievements, he conducted the PLATINUM study, a largest-of-its-kind study of American Presidents and senior government leaders, CEOs, and nonprofit executives.
His newest book is Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life’s Transitions. Lindsay’s premise is that a few hundred crucial minutes of our lives dictate the quality of the millions of other minutes. Such an idea can be daunting, or even paralyzing. What if you make the wrong decision in a hinge moment?
We understandably may approach big decisions with caution. But at some point, you’ve gathered all the data you’re ever going to have, and you’ve got to move. What if you’re still unsure about which direction to take?
Relax, Lindsay says. Study after study has shown that the benefits of making ANY decision, even if wrong, outweighs the benefits of having not made a decision at all.
This week’s bottom line: Even a wrong decision is better than no decision.
This is why Silicon Valley’s mantra is to “Fail early fast”. While not a call to be reckless or irresponsible, it is an encouragement to take a step. I call it “Saddling your donkey”, based on Abraham’s response when God told him to take his son up the mountain and do something unspeakable. Even if you are not sure what is going on, the best thing we can do every day is saddle up, get on our steed, and move.
Takeaway: With whatever decision you’re grappling, I encourage you today to make a decision and go: ride up the next hill and see what’s there. I guarantee you God is already there. If you discover that your plan changes, that’s okay! What happens next will guide you to your next decision.
2. Championing Invite
This past week marked 3.5 years for Invite. The launch moment is easy to remember: we began on the first day of shelter in place, Friday the 13th, March 2020.
Our organizational development is on target, and things are taking shape well in our fourth year. Systems and performance for our first venture, Invite Press, are coalescing. We’ve got a great team, we are on the verge of weekly new title launches, and we’ve experienced the first signs and hints of potential cash positivity.
If you’ve read my books Think Like a Five Year Old and Greater Things, you know that this is the exact, counter-intuitive time that we need to be looking to what’s next. In the Chart of Awesome and Time, which outlines the stages of Christian innovation, one thing is clear: the long slide of future atrophy is inevitable. The only way to avoid it is to make another leap of faith like you did in the beginning.
The the trick is to do it not on the downhill slide of the previous innovation, when it is too late, but while the previous work is peaking. It is a sigmoid curve: begin every new project before you completely reach the “hill of finished” on the previous project.
In other words, if we don’t move now, the Press will crest. So we are making two hard decisions in prayerful exuberance, confident that the Spirit goes before us and that any decision we make is better than no decision. Specifically, we are focusing on two things for the coming year at Invite, in addition to continue our investment in Invite Press.
One, we are launching Book Plus.
You’ve learned a bit about the concept of it in this space over the last several weeks. Our goal is to identify and act on as many “plus” projects as possible.
Two is to host the first Invite Lab.
It will be the week of April 22-26, 2024. Save the date and keep your eyes peeled for more info.
There’s not much we know yet about it, but I can tell you that it will be a gathering of ministry networks, biased toward innovation, outcome based, and focused on peer learning.
If you’re stuck trying to solve a thorny problem this week, I encourage you that at some point, you need to make a decision—ANY decision—and move. At a minimum, the results will be better than where you sit today.
Next week I will pick our series on great books back up with a continued look at genre. In November, we will shift to marketing.