Leaders Embrace Risk; Losers Embrace… Committees.

“A camel is a horse built by a committee.”

As the Recession of 2008-09 began to approach, I watched as leaders, hesitant to make a decision, decided to cut back on everything.  Many of them were answering to boards and committees comprised of members having no experience running an organization that size.   Yet these same boards still maintained an aggressive stance on decisions both made and not made.  Sadly they usually made the wrong, group decision.

It reminded me of my previous ministry experience: often working in churches with lay leaders without seminary training, having never prepared in how to run a church and without enough knowledge of the Bible to teach on these matters.  Yet they exercised control of the pastor and staff and dictated programming and budgetary decisions that influenced how everything ran.

I am reminded of this constantly when working with banks and credit unions who are run by boards of directors who don’t have the faintest idea of how to manage a bank, pass an inspection or lead in financial services.  Trade associations allow committees to make decisions in an effort to empower the members, only to let clueless managers make decisions based on personal fears or preference.

I can understand why real leaders get frustrated.  You know what needs to be done; you know how to get it done; you have to defer to an untrained committee or board member to carry the authority to make the decision. Reinvention means getting away from having to ask “permission” to make the right decisions.

Most people hate jobs with responsibility, and no authority.


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