Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Axioms

At the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels led a session on decision making. Already one of the things he said has started having an impact (notice I avoided saying 'impacting.' I thank you) upon our team's life. He suggested making a trial decision before the actual decision. Imagine you have decided in one way or another and live for a few days (or even hours if pushed) with how that feels. It may enable you, as you think your way into it, to change your mind.

Bill mentioned that most leaders live with axioms - statements that they tend to bring out regularly which guide their decision making. His own team asked him to write them down and on a long-haul flight when the movies were duff he did just that. Expecting to have 20 or so he ended up with 76 and they are the subject matter of his latest book.

Think you don't have axioms? Think again. Here's some of mine which I came up with after no long-haul flight whatsoever:

Ideas have wings
None of us is as smart as all of us
Always think of the needs of outsiders
Look for It
Sometimes the best prayer is, 'Lord I'm still listening'
Most times, good enough is good enough
In the battle of the heating system, 'I'm too cold' always wins
Doing isn't always better than being
Ministry by hanging around
Leave space in your diary for reactive stuff
You don't get to decide where your problem goes on my priority list
Review and learn

There will be more.

3 comments:

Kathryn said...

That's quite a scary list..;-)
otoh, I love the idea that Bill Hybels is proclaiming the same approach as Ignatius Loyola. Just delightful, somehow

dmk said...

thanks Steve, I was tempted to copy your list but ended up starting on my own. It does make me wonder how Bill Hybels gets round to making any decisions!

Jonathan Potts said...

Thing is, it's impossible to avoid: try "don't follow any previous axioms" as an axiom to avoid axioms and watch the wonderful Socratic chaos unfold.

A lesson from geometry (the Godfather of axiomatic systems): Euclid was always uncomfortable about the parallel-postulate but wasn't brave enough to throw it away and see what happened. Neither was anyone else for almost 2000 years. But then...

...non-Euclidean geometry arose. Which, in turn, brought us General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, the geometry of flight paths round the globe, and more. So get rid of all axioms you can't absolutely do without (if you like, make this an axiom). See what happens! Hyperbolic Christianity, anyone?