Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
Lately, I have been working on a presentation titled “Business as Calling” for a conference attended by university students. In preparation, I have dug into my memory archives for personal learnings from several decades of following Jesus in the marketplace. I have also been reading some books on what other marketplace leaders have to say, one of whom is Ken Costa. For decades, Ken was a senior executive in the City of London holding various posts including Chairman of Lazard International.
In his book, God at Work: Live Each Day With Purpose, one comment in particular caught my attention and is the theme of this blog post. Ken says, “When facing a critical choice, our first response should be to step back.”
Ken is on solid ground here not only based upon practical experience but also what the Bible teaches. From the latter, we learn that King Solomon was endowed by God with supernatural wisdom. He writes, “Ignorant zeal is worthless; haste makes waste.” (Proverbs 19:2)
As a young executive at Citibank, I learned from the outset that if I needed final approval from a senior officer for a large corporate loan facility today, the answer was “no”! Those senior to me had learned, likely from hard personal experience, that haste makes waste. In this case, “waste” was spelled l-o-a-n l-o-s-s.
During my time leading an international project finance unit at BMO, my boss taught me something about making haste slowly that I have never forgotten. Here is a paraphrase of his wise words. “After completing careful due diligence on the lending opportunity, one should always step back, take a walk and ask the single question: ‘Is the loan facility I am proposing reasonable?’”
When facing a critical choice, our first response should be to step back.
This exercise reminds me of a great book we are currently studying in one of the LeaderImpact groups I attend entitled ASK IT: The Question That Will Revolutionize How You Make Decisions by Andy Stanley. In this book, Andy encourages us to always ask “What is the wise thing for me to do?”
This can be a difficult question to ask if urgency is the order of the day or we are already inclined to go in one direction with little due diligence because of our personal agenda. The good news is that, as followers of Jesus, Christians have direct access to the source of all truth and wisdom. In fact, Jesus declares himself to be truth. We can trust him to lead us if we ask him.
Are you seeking God’s wisdom for professional and personal decisions, both big and small? Should you be making haste slowly today?
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.