Oct 062014 0 Responses

Every Pro Has Its Con

It is a fact easily forgotten.

We always want to improve. We consistently look at ways to get more or get better or eliminate undesired results.

We plot; we plan; we scheme.

And we find a solution. (See: You Control What Matters Most)

We know that if we take this step or make this move or change this process, good things will happen.

So we make the change and good things do happen.

However, there are always unintended consequences.

We often assume the good will stay the same as we try to correct the bad. What we forget is that part of the good was a byproduct of the very things which created the bad we did not like.

Years ago a church member complained about a secular song which we used after a worship service. It was something the band played as everyone left, but he didn’t like it. To him, the song hurt the worshipful mood which had been experienced. It was a fair critique.

In his mind, if we wouldn’t play that song, what was a great worship service would be even better. In his opinion, some people were leaving the church because of the secular songs played after service. Stop the songs and more people will remain at the church. (See: The Secret to a Good Decision)

And he was probably right. Some people likely did leave because they didn’t want to hear a song by The Eagles on a Sunday morning.

But the other day I asked someone why they attended our church and they mentioned the secular songs often played as they walked out. They said it showed them the church was real and wasn’t pretending to be ignorant of the world around us.

What one person thought was keeping some people from church was the very thing drawing other people in. Neither were wrong, yet neither realized the song was having an opposite effect on some people.

Stopping the song would’ve been a pro for some people, but it would have been a con for others.

This is nearly every situation in life.

Every pro has a con and most cons have some pros.

Sadly, humanity can rarely recognize this fact. (See: What a Timeshare Presentation Taught Me About Bad Decisions)

We often take action assuming our decisions will eliminate the negative things we do not like but forgetting that they might also eliminate some of the positive things we do like.

Nothing happens in isolation.

Every decision, action, or idea carries with it influences which are both positive and negative. This doesn’t make every choice equal. We still have to make the decisions which have the best conclusions possible. Yet it does mean we must always remind ourselves that unforeseen consequences are a part of every decision. And when they come, we must accept them.

We shouldn’t be surprised by them, disappointed by them, or taken aback by them. They are part of life.

  • Propose a new plan for your business and a faithful employee might take a different job.
  • Merge two churches and some key members of each location may not make the move with you.
  • Build a new restaurant with more seating capacity and some of the old customers might prefer a smaller venue.

Always assume every decision will have some unforeseen negative consequences.

You can’t predict everything, know everything, or foresee everything. Our lives and our decisions have a deep interconnectedness so that nearly every step will have ripple effects, many of which we could have never known. (See: How Leaders Focus On the Wrong Things)

This fact can paralyze some, but we shouldn’t let it paralyze us. We should let it empower us to face new challenges when they arise and it should prevent us from second guessing our decisions. Unintended consequences doesn’t necessarily mean we made bad decisions. It simple means we have new challenges to confront in light of the decisions we made.

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