Archive for the ‘caution’ Tag

Assumptions   Leave a comment

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Assumptions can be a double-edged sword.  We need to use assumptions in some of our decision-making process.  We are not able to have all the facts when preparing to make a decision because some variables are out of our control.  So we make assumptions based on the facts which we have available to us at the time and trends which we are able to project into the future.  We assume that based on the information, similar or continued trends will exist into the future.  But the problem with assumptions is that they can be wrong.  Unknown information may have an impact on outcomes.  Something may alter the trends which we have seen.  So assumptions cannot be trusted completely.

So many people make assumptions when it comes to individuals.  In our nation right now, we are dealing with the impact of assumptions and decisions that are made using those thoughts.  There is a lot of speculation regarding the reasons for assumptions which lead or have led to negative outcomes.  Many people look at an individual or situation and assume they know what the facts are regarding them.  They make judgments and take actions based on those assumptions.  Sometimes they are correct and sometimes they are very wrong.

Today I would like to throw out a warning to all of us.  Be careful how you act upon and treat others based on assumptions.  There are times when you must act or make decisions on assumptions but be very limited on those times.  Error on the side of not acting on assumptions, especially when it comes to people and their lives.


Chain Reaction   Leave a comment

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This has already been quite a winter.  Lately there seems to be at least one day every week when driving a car can be treacherous because the weather brings conditions that make the roads dangerous.  The news seems to carry a story of a multi-car pile up due to chain reaction accidents.  But it is not always just in driving an automobile that chain reactions can occur in life.

I was considering this morning how events in our lives can cause chain reactions with other people.  Sometimes an event can lead us in a direction either positively or negatively.  When we encounter other people, that event and our reaction to it can impact the way that we interact with other individuals.  We can easily impact the mood of that other person because of our mood and then the other individuals can impact the moods of others whom they encounter and it goes on and on which is the type of chain reaction to which I am referring.  Again, this can be a positive chain reaction or it can be a negative chain reaction.

All of this has led me to issue a warning to myself, and maybe others, PROCEED WITH CAUTION.  Just as caution must be used when navigating on icy or snow-covered roadways, we need to use caution in regards to how we interact with others.  Of course, there is value in causing a positive chain reaction.  There is little to no value in causing negative chain reactions.  Our moods are what they are going to be and we can sometimes work hard to move ourselves from a negative mood to a positive mood.  However, when we find ourselves in a negative mood, we can strive to not begin a negative chain reaction as we encounter others.

Walk Carefully   Leave a comment

English: A Syringa twig encased in a thick lay...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today brought another bout of freezing rain overnight.  That meant that schools were delaying their start times and everyone was told to slow down as they drove to work.  It also meant that the sidewalks were like being on the ice at a rink.  For those of us who have lived a majority of our lives in the upper Midwest, we have learned a special type of walking style for days like this…. the penguin walk.  You take short and rather shuffling-like steps instead of fast-paced and long steps.  This usually helps to keep you upright and allows quicker recovery time if you do hit an especially slick patch.

My experience this morning reminded me of some leadership points.  The first is to be sure to gauge carefully what kind of surface you may be on in a given situation.  What are the potential slick spots?  Where may be the surprises?  How should you proceed?  What type of steps are best suited for the situation?  All of these questions will help you to determine if you are walking on  ice or if you are progressing normally.

The other leadership point that is raised in my mind is in regards to those situations that you do determine that you may be on potentially hazardous ground.  These would call upon the leader to take caution much like what is necessary on the sidewalks after freezing rain.  The leader needs to make sure that she/he is choosing the right kind of steps and pace best suited for the situation.  Moving too quickly or taking too large of steps can quickly bring the whole situation down and usually the leader experiences the pain.

Ice does not have to halt any of us from proceeding through our day in most situations, we just walk like penguins and apply ice melt.  Slick spots for a leader does not have to stop progress in the organization, the leader just needs to know where they are and proceed with appropriate caution.


Be Careful   2 comments


Opinion (Photo credit: Kevin Steinhardt)

Today I was reminded how preconceived ideas regarding something or someone are dangerous.  I find it very easy to take a situation or an individual that I do not know well and create an image based on my limited knowledge.  This is very dangerous and should be avoided for all people but especially for a leader.  The reason that this is dangerous is that often I find that my preconceptions are very inaccurate.    Let me share a recent example.

I am heading to a very important meeting at the end of this week.  The location for the meeting is not one that I was overly excited about. My limited knowledge of the area led me to believe that the city was not very exciting and that I would have limited interests to explore during my free time.  I began longing for the meeting to be held in a “more exciting” location even though I knew that there would be no change in locations since years of planning and preparation had already gone into all of this.  Then through a friend of mine who had a connection to an individual living in the city of my destination, I received a whole list of what opportunities existed where I was going.  Now I am hoping to have enough free time between meetings to actually explore this city.

That is just one example of how misperceptions can lead us in a totally wrong direction.  Yet, how often do we take this type of path?  I find myself easily falling into the trap of forming opinions based on limited knowledge or early opinions.  This is completely unfair to the individuals or situations which I make opinions about.  People and situations should be given the opportunity to be who and what they are, not fit the mold into which our perceptions place them.  We should take the time to get to know the person or the circumstance prior to forming opinions.  Leaders must be diligent about taking this approach.  Leaders also should encourage and redirect others in this area.

Jesus approached each person and each situation openly and honestly.  Even though the Lord could see much deeper than  any of us, he never used initial impressions to label individuals or quickly determine a course of action.  This is an example that all of us would benefit from following.

So I encourage all of you (and give myself a double warning) to be careful of reacting to first impressions or preconceived opinions.  Strive to be open and explore before creating opinions, courses of action, or ways of responding.

Be Careful What You Say   2 comments


orator (Photo credit: southtyrolean)

When I was a young person in Sunday School, we used to sing a song that included this verse:

“Be careful what you say little mouth, little mouth.

Be careful what you say little mouth, little mouth.

For the Father up above is looking down in love,

So be careful what you say little mouth, little mouth.”

This verse came to my mind as I was thinking about a conversation that I was a part of yesterday.  It reminds me as a leader that I have been given the wonderful privilege of speaking to people in various settings.  With this privilege comes responsibility just as all privileges carry responsibility.  How I act upon that privilege is something that I need to take seriously.  I need to always keep in mind that when I speak to groups, especially in the church, I am speaking on behalf of the Lord.

As a leader, I believe that whether I am speaking in a church setting or in a community setting, I need to be mindful of the thoughts and concepts that I express.  I need to consider the nature of the individuals present as best as I can determine it.  I need be sure that the words I use and the ideas that I express are in keeping with the message that I am charged to share.  I also need to clearly state the difference between what is my opinion and what may come from facts or other sources.

Leaders have many people listening.  A leader does not always know who is hearing her/his words.  A leader does not always fathom how much of an impact his/her words may have on others.

So, in my opinion, leaders must understand that we have been given a great privilege to have others listen to our words.  A leader should never take this privilege lightly.  Each leader must be deliberate in choosing what and how they will communicate.

Now, I am also human just as all leaders are, so there are times I forget these very important concepts.  Those are the times that I need to admit my mistake and ask forgiveness of my listeners.  But as a leader, I must always strive to improve in this area and never take the privilege of being listened to for granted.

What Goes In   1 comment


One of the many attractions at the Iowa State Fair is the food.   The picture that I put with today’s post is looking down one side of “the triangle.”. Fair junkies call it the triangle because roads cause this triangular land section to exist.  It is the home to multiple food vendors including the vendors who has introduced fried butter to the fair this year.

Looking at all the food vendors has caused me to think about what food and other items we take into our bodies.  It also has made me think about all the ideas, opinions, and influences we take into our minds.

I think that the key in both situations is balance and caution.  While we want to experience a variety, it is important to keep those two words in mind.

Posted August 19, 2011 by thoughtfulbeliever in Faith/Life Connections

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