Whether in our work or our personal dealings, there are numerous opportunities every day for us to make key decisions. Our approach to making decisions, whether those decisions are simple or complex, presents us with choices to make. Each of us have core guiding principles in life which steer us in making decisions.
My wife has at different points in our marriage told me that on my tombstone she will put “A job worth doing is worth doing right.” At times, she has shared that out of frustration with my natural tendency towards perfectionism that has bogged down a decision she deems much easier and quicker to make. At other times, perhaps it has been shared out of my persistence and diligence to tackle and complete a project that many would have given up on.
No matter our personality, traits or tendencies, to make a positive impact in this world, we must strive to be men and women who want to do what is best for the people we impact by our decisions and actions. With that, we need training, guidance and inspiration every day of our lives. Many of us get that inspiration from parents, family, friends, co-workers, the Bible, or from other sources.
As a Rotarian, one such source for me is the Rotary “Four-Way Test”. It says simply yet profoundly:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Great advice for all of us whether we are in Rotary or not.
Recently, Rotary International President K. R. Ravindran shared in the December 2021 Rotary magazine the following story:
In the 1930s, Ole Kirk Christiansen, a Danish carpenter, had a wooden sign hanging on his wall that read, Det bedste er ikke for godt: “Only the best is good enough.” Today, Christiansen is remembered as the inventor of Lego, the colorful plastic bricks beloved by children around the world. But in the early days of the Lego company, its signature product was a wooden duck – one built to the highest standards, out of aged beech, with three coats of clear varnish. Lego’s company history tells how Christiansen used his ducks to teach a lesson in quality to his son, Godtfred Kirk:
One evening, when I came into the office, I said to my father: “It’s been a good day today, Dad. We’ve earned a little more.” “Oh,” said Dad, “what do you mean?” “Well, I’ve just been to the station with two boxes of our toy ducks for the Danish Co-op. Normally they get three coats of varnish, but since it’s for the Co-op, I only gave them two. So I saved the business a bit of money.” He looked at me in dismay. “Godtfred, fetch those boxes back. Unpack them and give the ducks another coat of varnish. You’re not going to bed until the work’s done – and you’ll do it all on your own.” There was no arguing with Dad. And it was a lesson for me about what quality meant.
Today Lego’s quality standards are legendary, and its products are the most popular toys in the world: Lego pieces outnumber humans 86 to 1. We all recognize that this success stems directly from Lego’s business practices – its insistence on quality, efficiency, and innovation.
How does Mr. Ravindran’s story above reflect your life? Your business practices? Is every task done with the thought in mind that only the best is good enough? Are you willing to go the extra mile to serve your family, your neighbor, or your customer? It is easy to struggle with this principle in today’s busy, often over-worked world, as people we love and trust will argue that ongoing battle of perfection versus efficiency…
Today, you will indeed have choices that will impact you and those you love and serve. Your attitude and approach as to how you make decisions will be up to you. So, seek wisdom to do the right things, as James 1:5 reads, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Then, move forward, seeking to do what is right and to do it well. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16