Friday, April 1, 2011

trusting the process

People often end up in leadership positions because they make things happen - they are often the first to spot a new idea or trend, the first to put new ideas into action, and the one in front often leading the chrage. These aspects are often noted in future leaders, and the promotion to a leadership position will happen in a swift manner. And there in lies the conundrum...people who have made things happen quickly are now in a position where they must wait patiently for things to happen because they have lost the control to make things happen themselves. Over thsi past week, I have been in a position of having to wait and trust the process. Knowing that the decision of choosing the next president of Concordia University, St. Paul lies in the hands of a group of people out of my control, there has been little I can do except pray and wait. There have been times when I thought to myself what I might do to influence the decision...or help the decisions makers in their deliberation...or just wanting to say one more thing that they might consider. And yet, the process does not call for that type of intervention. There is literally NOTHING I can do at this point to influence the outcome. That is not a comfortable position for me to be in - I want to DO seomthing, and yet... So here are some thoughts on how leaders can best LEAD while trusting the process:

  • believe that the process is good, right and proper. Trusting the process means that you BELIVE in the process and that the process will yield the best results for the organization or the individuals involved

  • understand it is out of your control. The instinctive action for leaders is to take control - it is in their DNA. And yet, it is that control that can often interupt and flaw the process. Just as helping the butterfly out of its cocoon will destroy the butterfly, attempting to speed a well designed process along can destroy the outcome

  • trust the people involved in the process. Yes, all human beings are flawed - and literally all thinking is flawed as there are no crystal balls in the room. And yet, almost all people want to make the best decision available at any given time. Believe that people will act in the best interest of the organization and bring all their decision making ability to the table

  • know that there are multiple right decisions that can be made. There is very seldom ONE right decision in any decision making process. In my case, there are three competent people who have interviewed for this position - all three can lead this institution into the future. Thus whatever decision is made will be the best one for this time and place

  • Know that people sometimes make mistakes. This may be in paradox with the above idea, but sometimes groups of people (or individuals) make mistakes and the decision turns out wrong for the organization. For the most part, organizations are resilent and will outlast the poor decision

  • understand the dynamics of groups making decisions. I know that as the Board of Regents for Concordia University, St. Paul gathers on Monday to make this decision, they will be bringing multiple views, values, and assumptions to the table. They will hear and interpret the information in different ways, and they will then decide on a decision making process that best reflects them as a group. Another group might make a different decision - and they might both be right

  • Believe that there is a bigger plan that goes beyond this one decision. As I consider the vastness of God's creation and the idea that there is a big wide world out there, this one decision (or any one decision) is often insignificant in the big (I mean REALLY big) scheme of things. While I consider this a HUGE decision, there are billions of people who could actually care less (that's a humbling thought)

  • Trust that God is always in control. My faith in a God that is much bigger than I can even imagine allows me to believe He is in control of not only this one decision, but of the future of the institution and of my future. This is not only conforting for me, but also for my hopes and dreams for Concordia University, St. Paul.

And so, let me close this "chapter" of my blog (and of my life) with this prayer:

Heavenly Father, as you have promised to be with us always...and as you have promised to even "count the hairs on our head," I trust that this decision is now in your hands. As you have chosen 17 people to serve Concordia University St. Paul in the capacity of Regent, so now use their gifts, talents, and wisdom in choosing that person who will lead your University into the future. Give peace to those who anxiously wait for this decision - and allow the three candidates to see how you will use our gifts, talents and wisdom to best bring about your Kingdom in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. Help us (and others) trust the process as we place our lives into your hands. Amen.


Anonymous said...

Dean Christian -

I think (know) this is the start of something new! I'm excited to see what happens.. whether that time is now, or later, God is using you in great ways, and you're going to do great things.

Thanks for your leadership, insight, and mentorship over the years. You have impacted my time at CTX more than you know, and gave me a bigger vision of what I could be.

Anonymous said...

Dean Christian
You are truly an inspiration to me and I know that you are led by the spirit. You have impacted my life to go forward with more passion and enthusiasm, thank you.