On an ethics exam, I was once asked to, “Compare and contrast the difference in making a decision between right and good.” Having never previously used this frame to make a decision, I remember reflecting for a while before beginning to craft my response. I mused to myself, what is the right thing to do in this situation? What is a good thing to do in this situation?
Subsequently, doing a deep dive both academically and experientially into leadership development, I have become fascinated with the metrics and frames that we as humans use to make decisions.
In our current reality, world leaders and local officials, corporate CEOs and small business owners, religious leaders and those who run schools and healthcare facilities have all been called on like never before to make decisions that unequivocally impact both individual and corporate life. I have been particularly fascinated to observe how folks have responded to these decisions. For example, my experience when people were initially told to shelter in place that the vast majority of individuals were compliant. As time has passed, even though the directive has not changed, there appears to be fewer people complying. And, of course, there are those who, from the beginning, did not believe anyone had the right to make this type of decision, and have been very publicly clear about their opinion.
At this time in the pandemic journey, what decisions are we making based on the decisions that others have made, such as shelter in place? Are we still compliant? Have we moderated as time has gone on to fit more with what works best for us? Or have we decided we are going to do as we wish, regardless of what anyone else tells us? What tools do you use to make decisions? Metrics, a frame, even your gut? Are you asking yourself, what is right, what is good? Does your faith enter into the mix?
As people of faith, aspiring to follow in the Way of Jesus, the Way of Love, to engage God’s mission of the Beloved Community, the metrics or frame is pretty clear as we make decisions: Am I loving God? Am I loving neighbor? Am I loving self? In my experience, prayerfully using those questions in making decisions leads us not only to what is right and good, but also to what is holy.