I am caught in the middle of at least six streams of intense analysis and decision-making. Each is slightly different. As I reflect on the streams, I see that they share three common threads.
In each case, the facts are not easily visible. Sincere people can looks at data differently. What the fact means to each is often quite different.
The facts do not automatically lead one to the answer. They are foundational to the analysis and recommendation. However, the links between the data and possible outcomes is fragile and assumption dependant.
In each stream, the answer has an implication that varies by the audience. My review says that there are as many variations as there are audience members. While the spectrum varies, there are three reference points. Some have to live with the answer. Others have to represent and support the answer. There are even those that need an answer but it does not matter what the answer is.
In order to use the answer, each stream requires the decision maker to be involved in the details. When you are not involved, you risk what happened to a leader when confronted with a comment at the end of a long story. The singular comment became a motivator “that set the Chief Priest Ananias off. He ordered his aides to slap Paul in the face.” (Acts 23.2)
I find myself looking a multiple lessons. First, details matter. We may not like to discuss them, they may be difficult to handle, however they are important.
Second, if I want to learn, I need to wrestle with ideas that are different than my own. I do not need to accept them, but I do need to understand, embrace, and struggle. The process is critical. Learning is not always easy.
Third, if I want to work collaboratively with others, I will need to dialogue (listen with the intent of learning). This means I will need to be involved. I will need to build (earn) trust. I will need to convey openness to the Other.
Today will require my presence.