Have you “the leader” ever had to make a difficult decision? Have you had board members, staff, or your senior VPs tell you to go one way with tons of analysis behind their reasoning, yet you’ve had this uncomfortable feeling that the proposal wasn’t going to work? Where there times when you’ve received recommendations where other interests than those of your organization may have been part of the advice? These situations probably occur more often than you’d like to admit. The question then becomes, “What is your intuition telling you?”
One of the most difficult and contentious decisions of all time was made by President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis with the Soviets Union in 1962. Both nations were on high alert to implement nuclear war over the Soviet placement of offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba. The primary intelligence tool that the President’s leadership team was depending upon for their assessments and decisions was U-2 reconnaissance flights over Cuba. Then, on the 27th of October 1962, the Soviets shot down an American U-2 flying over Cuba.
Kennedy’s leadership team had planned for this eventuality and they were nearly unanimous in recommending that the United States immediately strike back which left open the possibility of escalation and a nuclear exchange. But President Kennedy’s intuition told him different and he demanded that strikes be withheld. The outcome of this crisis is well known; a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union was averted because a president stuck with his intuition against nearly all his advisors. [ii]
You the CEO, lead pastor, or military commander may never have to make decisions of this consequence, but you will have to make tough decisions, either during a crisis or when charting the future of your organization, and there will be times when you “the leader” will have to go with your gut instincts against the prevailing advice of the crowd. However, the real question is, “Upon what is your intuition grounded?” Where do you find truth in those difficult situations? Is it based on just a feeling, on experience (good judgment comes from experience, which comes from bad judgment), or on something greater?
I’ve had to make decisions which I thought would go against the advice of others. I’ve first taken the time to pray about the situation and then listened to what the Holy Spirit had to say. And therein lies the greater power. None of us have the right answers for every situation, but there is a source that does, the Holy Spirit. That “still small voice” will let you know provided you belong to Jesus and ask in consonance with His will.
“The Apostle John said: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what He will make known to you.” (John 12:13-15)
The Lord wants you to succeed in those pursuits that honor Him, so take the time to ask, and you shall receive the foundation upon which you can ground your intuition.
[i] Intuition Blog Picture http://www.jabagnall.net/links.htm
[ii] Allison, Graham T., Essence of Decision, Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1971, p. 225.