Is your team stuck in a cycle of discussing issues but never making decisions? You can tell that you’re stuck in this cycle when you talk about a problem and come up with a solution…only to have the person in charge “decide” not to take action. Then you find yourself in deja vu when you sit in another meeting to talk about the same problem and the solutions, which results in the same indecision. If this scenario is present on your team, then you are battling the two enemies of commitment.
Over the course of my ministry, I have served on church staff teams that have been stuck in the inability to commit to a course of action. We sit in meeting after meeting and talk about what we ought to do, what we should do, and what we need to do. The problem is that we never got to the point where we actually DO.
I believe that the root of indecision is a commitment issue. It is fair to say that we will not do anything of value if we are not committed to it. When teams lack commitment, they tend to have a fear of failure, which results in making excuses and delaying decisions. Teams that lack commitment tend to revisit the decision again and again instead of embracing the decision and moving forward.
I have discovered that there are two primary enemies of commitment that will stall your team every time:
Complete agreement is nearly impossible. When a leader attempts to gain consensus before making a decision, the result will be indecision.
Consensus is not the same as creating a culture where everyone has a voice. Good leaders do consider everyone’s ideas. Team members want to know that their opinions have been heard and considered. Sensible team members do not need to get their way to support a decision. Meetings should set out to have healthy debate and an exchange of ideas. Just know that leaders must make decisions, even when everyone doesn’t agree.
Seeking consensus will stifle commitment.
You can’t wait for complete certainty before making a decision. The only thing you can be certain of is that leadership requires risk. Waiting for certainty will create an environment where nothing gets done, and paralysis will set in on your staff.
Your idea may not work. That’s just a fact of life. But know that a decision is better than no decision at all. It is better to commit to a bold decision and be wrong and course correct…than it is to waffle on your decisions as a team. No one wants to follow a waffling leader.
In effective teams, commitment is never questioned. Not everyone in the team may agree with the decision, but once the decision is made, an effective team is committed to the decision.
Take a look at this post for tips on how to cultivate commitment within your team.