Principles of Effective Leadership - Lesson 19

Objectives and Decision Making

Identifying objectives is the process of moving from vision to reality. Objectives are the tactics employed to carry out the strategies, the action plan of what needs to happen now. Decisiveness is an important quality of a good leader.

John  Johnson
Principles of Effective Leadership
Lesson 19
Watching Now
Objectives and Decision Making

Objectives and decision-making

I. Objectives

A. Definition of objectives

B. The need for objectives

C. Some basic rules for creating objectives

II. Decision making

A. The importance of decision making

B. Requirements of sound decision making

1. Be informed

2. Be sensitive to timing

3. Collaborate

4. Prioritize

5. Step out and decide

6. Be willing to retrieve

III. Summary

  • In this lesson, you'll learn about the critical role of leadership in ministry, covering key aspects like core values, vision strategy, decision making, team building, conflict resolution, and biblical theology of leadership to enhance your effectiveness as a leader.
  • This lesson offers a comprehensive exploration of the complexities and challenges in defining leadership, highlighting its context-dependent nature, the influence of culture, and the variety of styles, personalities, and traits associated with leaders; it ultimately identifies three essential components of leadership: having followers, influencing others, and setting direction.
  • In this lesson, you explore the importance of leadership, vision, and planning, and learn about key qualities of a good leader, such as global thinking, flexibility, and empathy. You will also understand the three components of leadership and the delicate balance between leadership and influence.
  • This lesson delves into the importance of leadership, illustrating how it is critical to success in the political, corporate, and religious sectors, with personal experiences and expert opinions reinforcing the need for strong leaders to guide and shape organizations.
  • In the lesson, you gain insights into the nature of leadership, its key components, and the need for leaders in various contexts. You also explore the debate on whether leaders are born with innate abilities or if leadership can be acquired and developed over time. Additionally, the concept of leadership as a summoning, where individuals are called to lead during specific situations, is introduced.
  • Focus on your strengths and improve your leadership skills through Marcus Buckingham's guide, which debunks myths about personal growth, identifies strengths, and emphasizes the value of team members volunteering their strengths while balancing service with strengths-based contributions.
  • This lesson equips you with an understanding of the context of leadership, various leadership styles, and practical applications to effectively lead in different situations.
  • When you are identifying the social context of a group, it is important to recognize the structural, human resource, political and symbolic aspects of the group.

  • In this lesson, you gain insights on situational context in leadership, focusing on the leader, followers, organization, and environment, enabling you to adapt and foster growth.
  • Gain insights into core values and axioms in leadership, the power of language and word pictures, the leader's responsibility for casting a vision, and overcoming the fear of asking for help in order to rally support for a great vision.
  • By studying humility as a core value for leaders, you gain insight into the importance of humility in avoiding temptations of pride and power and discover the characteristics that define humble leaders. Additionally, you explore other core values, such as compassion, courage, and diligence, and learn how to build and maintain these values in your life through experience, self-assessment, and reflection and how it is essential in avoiding the temptations of pride and power.
  • This lesson teaches the significance of core values and skills in effective leadership, covering aspects such as integrity, justice, authenticity, competence, discernment, and intuitive leadership, all of which contribute to becoming a well-rounded and impactful leader.
  • By exploring this lesson, you learn the importance of teamwork in leadership, the characteristics of high-performing teams, and how to build, develop, and lead successful teams in your organization.
  • Learn the principles of effective leadership, explore key leader characteristics, and discover how to build strong teams, develop leadership skills, and measure success.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights into the critical role of leaders in setting direction, the importance of teamwork, and the need to establish a clear mission and purpose for organizations. Understanding these concepts enables you to be a more effective leader who can inspire and guide teams towards shared goals.
  • A Mission is a philosophic statement that answers the question, “Why are we here?” Vision is a strategic statement that answers the question, “Where are we going?”

  • This lesson teaches the importance of long term thinking in visionary leadership, emphasizing the value of learning from history, engaging present realities, and exploring future possibilities through scenario thinking and adapting to technology and trends.
  • This lesson explores strategic thinking, SWOT analysis, and trend analysis to help develop a clear vision and mission and adapt to an ever-changing environment in education and ministry.
  • Identifying objectives is the process of moving from vision to reality. Objectives are the tactics employed to carry out the strategies, the action plan of what needs to happen now. Decisiveness is an important quality of a good leader.

  • By studying this lesson on leadership and change, you will learn to effectively manage change in leadership, overcome resistance, implement and communicate change vision, and sustain long-lasting organizational transformation.
  • This lesson equips you with the knowledge and skills to navigate leadership challenges and transitions, fostering personal growth and organizational success.

This is a core leadership course designed for those who intend to be future leaders in ministry. This course will move from definitions to the core values of a leader; how to take a ministry through a vision process; engage in strategic planning, decision-making, and implementation; build great teams; work through conflict and change; delegate tasks; and effectively mentor the next generation of leaders. Models from the corporate, political, and military worlds will be compared and contrasted with biblical definitions and illustrations of leadership.

You may download the complete set of Dr. Johnson’s notes as a pdf. Since this class was presented during a condensed time frame, Dr. Johnson does not comment on all the points in his notes. We have provided the full text of the notes for your benefit. Click on the Class Outline link under Downloads.

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Dr. John Johnson

Principles of Effective Leadership


Objectives and Decision Making

Lesson Transcript

Dr. John Johnson [00:00:01] In this pyramid we're building, we come to. The next one is objectives. And the important thing to realize, again, is that if you stop at strategies like the shit I just passed out, if we as a staff stopped here again, they'd just be no statements would mean anything. The objectives is where you start to move from ideas to actualities, you know, from vision to reality. Working definition of leadership has been this someone who has followers, someone who is mobilizing towards a goal. And that goal is, you know, the mission vision strategies. And as I put here, just a biblical precedent for this. Another way of looking at it to Jesus have a clear missing mission. Yes, he tells us. And that was to glorify the father, John, 74, that he impart a vision. He pictured a kingdom that would begin small and would eventually take the world. Matthew 13 Did he have a strategy? Did he? Yeah. He had a core of disciples and he sent the empowering spirit. It was part of his strategy. So don't go anywhere until he gave him a strategy of reproduction. Gave him a strategy of beginning at home and spreading abroad. So we see what we've been talking about. You could say underscored sanction modeled by Jesus. But it goes nowhere if you don't now move to this place of scene. So who's going to do it? So when? You know, it's sort of like when you go by and say, Hey, we should get together sometime. Yeah, that'd be cool. Okay. Yeah. See? Words are cheap. It's when you stop and go. Okay. My house. Your house? This Saturday. Oh, you weren't really serious. Just trying to figure out if you were just being polite, if you really did. It's kind of like that with strategies. Are we really serious? Because if we are, we move to objectives. The definition of objectives is that, well, strategy, strategic planning is broad objectives are more the tactical side. The vision is asking the question. Let's go back to the mission. The mission is asking what? Why? Patient is asking where strategies are, asking how the objectives now move to. Who? Who? When? Who is going to do this? When is it going to happen? The objectives are the tactical side, the tangible statements, the action plan, the as I put it here, the measurable statements that get down to the day to day stuff, the what we call in our church the operational plan. Every organization that's serious about its vision is going to have an up plan. Like in our church. We have a board and we have a staff. The distinction is that the staff's large responsibilities, the up plan, the tactical side, it's why you have a staff. This is what they do. This is what they carry out. Now, the need without objectives. As I said, strategies just exist as nice statements. That's the reason a lot of organizations don't succeed. It's not because they have bad strategies. It's not because they didn't have a even a maybe they had a clear vision, but they didn't have execution. Somewhere there's got to be execution. Objectives force us into the action. Here's the next step. We do. Now we've got these strategies. This is like two days of hard work just to reassess and put these together. But actually, the hard work in front of us, the hard work is who's going to do this? When will it be done by? So we say, okay, showcase grace and forgiveness. It's a nice statement. It's a great strategy. Question Who's going to take ownership? Okay. Dean, You want to take ownership of that? Okay. We want you to write out an objective. My objective is to have two face stories a month. Okay. Once I got to start. September. Nothing gives us something to measure by two, but it's got to get to that level and it's got to move eventually to evaluation. Okay, Dean, it's November. Hasn't started. What happened? We're only doing one a month. I thought you said two. I mean, this is where the rubber meets the road. Really? In ministry. This is where, by the way, we can start to really get into spiritual language. Well, you know, I'm just waiting on God to lead and hoping, you know. Okay. This is the stuff that forces us to be honest. Member. One of our core values is to be anybody. Remember the word diligent. Measurable deadlines assign responsibilities. As Vince Lombardi once put it, if you're not keeping score, you're only practicing. This is kind of what forces us to keep score. Some basic rules make them measurable. Again, target date. How many? Make them assignable? Who respect fluidity? Remember we said as you go up the ladder, so to speak, it becomes more and more and more fluid. Strategies have a certain fluidity. Objectives are really fluid, so it's clear that it's this not working out but doing so. Sandy, we need you to do these stories, okay? You know what? It's really too hard to do too much. Okay, so let's go back to one or people really loving this. Could we do it every week? Whatever it is. Fluidity. Then keep reviewing. Keep reviewing the art plan you always keep reviewing. Think through together. Work for synergy, objectives, muscle alignment against every objective. So we'll say to the staff, okay, we want you to come up with a list of your objectives for 2010. But here's the deal. Every objective has to be linked with the strategy, and every strategy has to be linked with the vision. And the vision has to go back to the mission. It's all about alignment. It's what keeps you focused. So as I say here, link it to the vision. And then number seven, expect accountability. Here's where strong staff and board are critical. So this is what we do. I'll just tell you a little process of how it works here. So we just finished this as a staff. I'm going to take it to the board next month because I'm with their fingerprints on this. I want them to say, okay, guys, here are our core strategies to get to our vision. And they might say, Wow, that looks really good, but we're missing a piece here that. Okay, great. Well, we've that in. Now what we will then come back in about four months with is no less than that couple of months we'll come back with an operational plan. And that operational plan flows out of this. What's in the operational plan again? It'll have to decide all the names of our staff, their objectives. We even have a code for the points of our vision so that they see that in our strategies. So they see that this objective is linked to those who don't have the target date. And what we do is we submit this operational plan to the board. We let them put their fingerprints on it, too. Do you have any questions? They spend a month looking it over. Once we're in motion, then about every three months the board will take this operational plan. And in one of our meetings, we'll say, okay, so let's review the operational plan, and they will look at all the things that should be done by this time of year. They will look at all the things that we said that will be in this quarter, September, October, November and they'll go round. Dominic, you are showcasing grace and forgiveness and we notice that you said this was going to start September. We've only seen one. You said you're going to do two. So can you help us understand why now? Is that a good thing? It's accountability and it makes sure we're serious about our vision, right When we say this is our strategy, that means we're going to do it. So if Dominic doesn't have a really good answer, I'm a board member, I might say. Well, then, did you really mean it when you put on? So what got in the way? Are you saying this is not a so too much for you or you're saying it's not a priority or. And I guarantee you, all you have to do is go through that about once and the next time the board does is Dominic is going to say, you know, that was a little humbling. Sometimes staff and board aren't sure how they relate to one another. This is a classic way you relate. This is part of the submission to the board. This is part of also what frees you. If the board says it looks like a great strategy, it looks like a great operational plan. Then boom, you go out and do it and somebody in the congregation says, Well, why are you doing that? Because it's part of our strategy and it's part of my objectives. Well, who said you can do that on the board? Any questions? It protects you, but it also keeps your feet to the fire, which is really good. It helps to keep that submission and leadership tension going on. I think that's all I want to say on objective. So stop a second. Questions on objectives. You're all starting to see the distinction between all of these. Sometimes people would just use these words interchangeably and that will happen with you. And that's where in the education process you say, No, hold up. Objectives are different than strategies. Now, strategies are not the two vision, especially this one. No, that sounds like you're talking about a mission, not a vision.

Speaker 2 [00:11:09] Clarifying. So an objective you can just check off. And it's a to do with.

Dr. John Johnson [00:11:14] It's sort of.

Speaker 2 [00:11:15] Is.

Dr. John Johnson [00:11:16] Yeah. Now what you don't want to do is have staff people put everything they're doing on it. Sometimes we have some guys that they look really good on the operational plan, man. They play out like 50 things and then another guy has like five. And that's because 45 of those things are what they do. One of my objectives are weekly staff meetings. No, that's not an objective. That's your job description. The objective needs to fit. What is this your strategy?

Speaker 2 [00:11:53] So they said to me than we understand like some kind of milestone. The middle of Gadid.

Dr. John Johnson [00:12:01] Yeah. I wouldn't call an objective a milestone. It's simply a set of goals. The milestone is if you can reach your vision, the objectives are just the tactics to carry out the strategies. So we have these assignable goals. Assignable meaning who? Assignable meaning by when? Now, when you do this, you have a chance that you're getting somewhere. But I add one more piece the next section, and that is decision making in a certain way. When I put all this together some years ago, I thought, okay, now we're done. We got the objectives. Okay, it's a done deal. And I realized What? Not really. It's not really done until somebody makes a decision. So I can say, Adam, we need to do this. What? Somewhere Adam has to make the decision. He's got to do it. So decision making. Let me just highlight a few things. The importance of decision making. Decisiveness is imperative for leadership. It's a critical duty of a leader to step out and act. Vision without ability to execute is a hallucination. So leaders have to act. They have to decide. Some do it well, some have decide or philia a zest for decision making. But others have a difficult time pulling the trigger, making decisions, some hide behind analysis that eventually leads to paralysis. You will sometimes be on boards and you will work with people who are like this. Well, we need a little more analysis. We need a little more information. And you do want to make sure you do that. But there's a time you just not you know it in your gut. Okay, guys, we have enough information. Let's decide. It's like right now, I think maybe I've mentioned this idea of bringing a couple of women to participate, be part of our board. So it's been a few months now. Well, we need a little more data. Could you take us through theological? So we make sure we're. Oh, that's all good stuff. But next month when we meet, I've said it's decision time. We make a decision now to probably be a couple that go, well, you know, be good if we could know. We've done enough analysis. There's some people that just hide behind analysis. They love analysis because it. Why prevents from having to make the hard decisions. So at some point you have to make the decision. So the requirements of sound decision making obviously be informed, and that includes knowing what's entailed to accumulate the right data. It's an art and a science. The art, because decisions depend upon hunches, intuitions, the science because it needs to be disciplined and analytical. You know, a lot of our decisions are going to be like that, aren't they? To a certain extent, a lot of decisions are aspect of faith, taking steps into the dark. Many of my decisions, your decisions don't have all the data. Some people can never make decisions because they live in a world that they hope will supply all the data. But you don't have all the data. My sister make it to San Diego with my folks and we may decide, You know what? It's probably better to put Dad in a care center. If I wait for all the data to come in, my dad, if I die before that certain point, you just got to step out and go looking at the data. I think it's the best decision. My gut telling me that I know it's going to be a hard decision. Accumulate the data. Asking the right questions. What if? Why not? How come? Educating your instincts. That's a great statement. Educating your instincts. Then knowing the difference between hard data and probabilities. Boy, that's an important one. Knowing the difference between hard data and probabilities, I confusing those. So. You know. Can we do this? Yeah, we can do it. The data tell you that. Yeah. Okay. Is that hard data? Mm hmm. Well, it's not hard data. No, the difference. And then no one to move from the identified problem to the unidentified problem. The real thing. And what I mean by that is sometimes in decision making, you've got to stop and ask yourself, are we dealing with the real thing? It may be we're struggling with a problem we can't solve because we're not really dealing with the real problem. The real problem isn't this over here? The real problem is, Fred. But nobody wants to talk about Fred. So we might be dealing with, you know, the problem is our deficit, man. We've got a real problem with our deficit. We can't go forward. Is that the real problem? Well, no. The real problem is, is that we're not growing and we're not growing because of this reason. Part of decision making is making sure you're dealing with the real thing. Part of decision making is paying attention to who you're leading. Well, I put there, I think number four, know how many chips you have in the bank under accumulate the right data. Start with asking the right questions. Number one, know the difference between hard data and probabilities. Number two. Number three, know when to move from the identified to the unidentified. Number three, know how many chips you have in the bank. Do you have that? So you might add that as number four, part of accumulating the right data for decision making. Stepping out and doing it is to make sure you know how much how many chips you have in the bank. The reason I say that is because whenever you make a decision, you have to expend a certain amount of chips, certain amount of say, Oh, this is going to be a tough decision. You've got to do it and it might cost you. In our church recently, we had to release to a pastor and a director for budgetary reasons when you have to make a decision like that. Nobody else can make it, but it's my staff. I can't say to the staff, Hey, let's kind of decide this together, huh? Adam goes, Well, I think Marshall needs to go. Sandy goes, Well, you know, Dominique, I mean, basically, what is he contributed to the class? I mean, what does he do? Dominique It goes, well, you know, ten tens, a little older. So, Ashley, would you get rid of him? You see what I'm saying? I'm being ridiculous here, but you can't make decisions that way. Sometimes you're forced as a leader to make decisions that only you can make. This decision has cost me a lot of money in the bank and in some people's minds, I'm actually in a deficit now. Any time you release somebody on staff in a church, it's painful because especially in a ministry, you release somebody. It's like releasing a family member because in a sense, you have. It's hard. And when I released this person a few years ago, it was a major withdrawal from the bank. What's the lesson? Sure. Whenever you make major decisions back to decision making, make sure you have enough money to you know, it's like if I go to Nordstrom and want to buy all kinds of things from my wife, well, that's okay. Make sure you have enough money in the bank to cover it. That's kind of the thing here. So know how many chips you have in the bank and then pay attention to who you are leading. The decisions we make. We call for. Must be high enough to inspire extraordinary effort, but not so unattainable as to discourage people from reaching them. We're going to make some decisions now. Gets back to our operational plan. It's going to force us to make decisions. We've got to make sure we are people ready? Do I have enough money in the bank? Those kind of things. Be sensitive. Number two here. Two timing. Good. Decision makers pay attention to the clock to serve the seasons. Pull the trigger when the time calls for them. And when it calls for. Not yet. One of my nephews is a firefighter in Southern California. Firefighters have what they call a go point. What that means is, is that let's say there's a wildfire out there and the brush is burning like crazy. The Santa Ana winds are blowing. And you come upon a homeowner and you say, you know, you need to leave. And the homeowner goes, I'm not leaving my property. And he's out there with his hose or whatever. I've been here 40 years and I've outlasted. And a firefighter might say, you know, you really need to. And there comes a point where a fire firefighter has to make a go decision. That is, there's no more time to talk. You've got to go, got to make a decision. So we're leaving now. It's up to you. But we're not waiting anymore. We're leaving. And all of us as leaders have these go points where you say, Got to do it now. This is the time being sensitive to this. Go moments. Time to leave. I think one of the powerful illustrations of Scripture is Moses in Deuteronomy one God says to Moses, They've been wandering now for a couple of weeks, not wandering, but they've been in this journey from Egypt to the Promised land. They've been out there now catch this. They've been out there about two weeks and God says, I've given you the land, Deuteronomy one. It was really, if you think about it, I think about anyway, it was Moses, this go point. Time to go. Pull the trigger. Make the decision. But what did Moses do? Well, you know what he did? He sent out spies. Go see if the land is good. But God already said the land is flowing with milk and honey. Why do you need to do that? I think to a certain extent, Moses was hiding behind analysis. Well, go see if there are dangers. Well, God already said, I'll go with you. Who cares if you find giants? So, big deal. That's nothing to me. So he sends the spies out in the land waiting. They go and collect data. Now, there's nothing wrong collecting data. But in this case, Moses was given the signal from God to go. And what did they do? They collect data. And what do they do? They come back. And what do they do? So Moses doesn't say, Hey. Okay, fine. Let's have a meet. He lets them tell the people. And it says that when they told the people, Where's Moses? So Joshua is saying, Hey, come on, Caleb, we're going. We were there. We thought, God is great. God is more than big enough. Where's Moses the leader? Where is he doing all this? He's at the tender meeting, praying. I suppose you could, preacher a very wonderful sermon about the important place of pray. But I look at that from a leadership standpoint and say, Moses, you failed to be a leader at that point. You should have stood up and said, We are going, okay. God is more than big enough. You want to stay here in the wilderness, fine. But you know what God has said. Come, go. We're going. I think. Anyway, I could be totally wrong. Maybe I'll get taken to task when I get to heaven for this. But it seems that Moses wimped out right from the start by sending out the analysis party. Now it says in number 13 that God called Moses to send out the spies. But I think God was accommodating to something Moses had already decided. So the point I want to make has been sensitive to timing. There are these windows. Well, guess what happened? So they wimp out. They don't go. God says, okay, you're not. This generation isn't coming in because you didn't believe me. No. God takes that serious, doesn't he? So what do they do? Oh, man. This time we missed an opportunity. What did they do? Remember, they decided. Oh, well, we'll go. We'll go there. But what happened? Too late. So it was a futile effort. Paul, you know, that's a scary text, isn't it, really, for us as leaders that ought to have our say something like when you when you believe that God is saying, let's go, when the timing is, it's time to decide. Don't mess around. I'm not saying that we operate with impulse impulsively or out of hurry, but we do need to move out of a sense of urgency. We need to realize the times are urgent. So pay attention to who you're leading. Be sensitive to the timing. We've talked a lot about this careful decision making and getting back to collaboration and getting the principals together discern what decisions need to be. Maybe move to another level of decision. Which ones are yours to make? I may decide. You know what? I've got an issue of subordination on my staff, and I'm not going to just fire that person to collaborate means I might bring my best principals together and say, I'm thinking about this. What am I missing? Well, you know, there are two steps you've overlooked. Oh, okay, great. That kind of thing. Collaboration before the decision. Prioritize as part of decision making. So good decisions reflect a certain order. Keeping first things first. Priorities in our own life with our operational plan. Okay. What things come first in this operational plan? And then step out and decide. What I put here is we've noted that leadership is about having a vision, smart ideas, getting them implemented well. But moving to decision implementation is hard. It's the hardest part. It requires guts. Getting past natural fears about making hard decisions. So the point is, there are no freeways into the future, no paved highways to the unknown, only the wilderness. So we step in waiting for permission or waiting to get 100% of the information is not characteristic of people who get extraordinary things done. Acting with a sense of urgency is. Here's a rule I read once about the Marines. 70% rule if you have 70% of the information. I have done 70% of the analysis and feel 70% confident. Then move. For most decisions are two thirds fact, one third step into the dark. Number six, be willing to retrieve. Sometimes a decision has to be received back. And we built a sanctuary. The bigger story, the sanctuary recently that we finished was we had another sanctuary mine, and we were all set to go. And then we had to stop and say, No, we can't do it. It's going to cost too much money. It's okay as leaders to say, you know, things changed on us. In that case, the economy was so hot, everything was increasing in price per day. So we'll have those kind of situations, too. We have to step back. So today we've talked about how to move the organization from A to B, start with making sure we have a clear what mission that moves into this particular crisis, the mission, our dream that then begins to move into clearer what strategies that then shift to, or at least not shift to, but they flesh out, they flesh out and objectives, right. Sine of those that are going to require decision making to do it. So once we've moved all the way through that, it's kind of to a certain extent what Belsky talks about here to turn vision into reality, he puts it requires in part, a clear action plan that defines who win, that if you don't have it, it never happens. Another book that's really helpful, especially when we get to this phase of it all is Checklist Manifesto. That's how I create reading. Really interesting stuff. Actually, it's a really fascinating book. Are you familiar with the book?

Speaker 2 [00:30:41] Just what you said earlier.

Dr. John Johnson [00:30:44] Yeah. So I already told you about the book. That's what this book is about. It's about when you get to this phase of leadership. Having that checklist, keeping it in front of you. If you don't do it, you won't do it. So now Wednesday will cover the rest of our themes. We'll talk about change, which inevitably comes when you make decisions. Then the challenges that come with change. See the logic here. When you make decisions, things change, don't they? When you carry out the objectives that fulfill the strategies, it's going to be different. You make decisions. Things are no longer the same. So we'll talk about the laws of change. And then with change comes challenges, because people don't like change. But leaders are change agents. When they bring change, generally there's conflict. And then we talk about transitions or last part because we need to prepare to transition on. Eventually, people will not like us. So what happens when you bring change? Like I said at the beginning, this course is designed for you to fail. Well, not really, but designed for you to get fired. Maybe that's why I should say. Great leaders generally get fired because they make people uncomfortable because they bring change. So we'll see. Once the OC.