You Can't Win Them All

As a technical director or technical leader, you will have many opportunities to make decisions. Some of those will be wrong. You probably know that, but I suspect deep down, you feel like you’re the only one who makes wrong decisions. In fact, based on the number of requests I get to help someone decide on a piece of equipment, you might be tempted to think that I never make wrong decisions. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I have and will likely continue to (occasionally) make a bad call. That’s something we have to get over.

In fact, we were just talking about one piece of gear I bought a while ago and how I wish I had taken a different route. I was trying to stretch my budget (yes, mine has been cut, too), and thought I had a plan that would work pretty well. It works OK, but by the time I got done, I spent almost as much as I would have on the other gear that I knew was better. And at some point, I’m going to change it out. It’s a bummer, but it’s life.

I just saw a quote that I believe should be attributed to Tim Cook of Apple. He said, “We’re going to try a lot of stuff. Some of it won’t be any good.” I really like that approach, especially if it doesn’t cost much to try it. I’ve bought a few things that I thought were great bargains and turned out to be absolute crap. But hey, it was worth a shot and we tried.

Sometimes, it appears to me that some technical leaders can get so paralyzed trying to make the “right” decision that they don’t make any decision at all. A problem goes unsolved, a need unfulfilled, all because they’re afraid of picking brand A over brand B. I mean, what if brand B is better? Or maybe there’s a brand C they don’t know about yet?

If there is one thing I’ve learned in talking with leaders at some of the largest churches in America, it’s that we all have to make the best call we can at the time, and hope it works. Some of those calls end up being wrong, and we do what we can to minimize the damage. 

So don’t feel like you’re alone in this. You will make mistakes. You will buy gear that doesn’t work the way you thought it would. The best course of action is to keep moving. Don’t get paralyzed something didn’t work out. Of course you should ask for advice, and having a great relationship with a dealer or two will keep bad decisions to a minimum. But if you mess one up, know that you’re in good company. We’ve all been there. 

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