by Edmond Ng
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- Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. (2 Samuel 12:13 NAS)
When Jürgen Schrempp, CEO of Daimler-Benz, led the merger of Chrysler and Daimler against internal opposition, he did not know nine years later, his decision would force Daimler to virtually give Chrysler away in a private equity deal. Steve Russell, chief executive of Boots drugstore chain, launched a healthcare strategy to differentiate the stores from competitors, but it turned out to offer little profit potential and contributed to Russell’s early departure from the top job. These executives were highly qualified for their jobs, yet they made decisions that soon seemed clearly wrong, according to a Harvard Business Review article by Andrew Campbell, Jo Whitehead, and Sydney Finkelsteinan at HBR.org.
“From our analysis of these cases, we concluded that flawed decisions start with errors of judgment made by influential individuals,” the article continued. “Hence we needed to understand how these errors of judgment occur.”
“We depend primarily on two hardwired processes for decision making. Our brains assess what’s going on using pattern recognition, and we react to that information—or ignore it—because of emotional tags that are stored in our memories. Both of these processes are normally reliable … But in certain circumstances, both can let us down.”
Flawed decisions made from poor judgment can lead to chaos or the rippling effect of blunders, which often carry serious consequences. When King David made the decision to covet Bathsheba and she conceived, he attempted to cover up his sin by bringing her husband, Uriah, back from the battlefield in the hope he would lie with his wife. When that failed, David had Uriah put to death by instruction to Joab to place Uriah in the frontline of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him so he might be struck down and die. The consequences David bore for his flawed decisions were the death of his son and the sword never departing from his house (2 Samuel 11:2-27; 12:10-18).
Making the right decisions is never easy, but sometimes we can observe some telltale signs of potential problematic consequences with the help of pattern recognition. Depending on how we react to the information we have at hand or ignore it because of emotional tags, we would eventually have to make our own decisions. Nevertheless, no single decision made is foolproof or guarantees success, except when made according to the word of God.
In the case of Daimler-Benz, Schrempp chose to go ahead with his decision despite internal opposition. Russell, in the case of Boots, made his decision without sufficient knowledge of the market. King David, in his moment of weakness, made the decision to covet even though he knew it was wrong, and as a result displeased the LORD (2 Samuel 11:27; 12:9, 14).
Are we making decisions without considering the views of others? Have we studied enough to understand the needs of the market and the people around us to make informed decisions? Are we guilty of involving other people in our plot to cover up our flawed decisions? Do we know the word of God well enough to make the right decisions? Are we knowingly or subconsciously making wrong decisions because of emotional attachment?
Whether we have made the right or wrong decisions, we need to learn from our past and get on ahead. If we have sinned, let us like King David confess our sins to God, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness. Seek the will of God and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us when making decisions. Take the feedback and views of others into consideration. Do a thorough research before assessing what’s going on, and make informed decisions without emotional entanglements.
Dear Lord, help us make the right decisions. Forgive us for the wrong decisions we made at times. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit to know how to assess every situation, so we might not in our moments of weakness choose the wrong path or make a flawed decision because of emotional tags or attachment. Your will is what we seek to fulfill in every decision we make, for our desire and joy is to glorify Your holy name.
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