Choose Your Hills

| Written by Dave Demchuk  |

Good Morning!

I am a dog-lover.  To paraphrase the American humorist Will Rogers, “I’ve never met a dog I didn’t like!”  Well, that isn’t exactly true.  There has been at least one dog that has driven me crazy over the years.  One that comes to mind was a German short-haired pointer owned by some neighbors of ours.  The dog was a beautiful specimen of the breed with attractive coloring.  He had one fatal flaw however—he hated cars.  When off the leash, he would chase every car that passed along our street.  On busy days, it was not unusual to see him madly chase one, then another, and yet another, until he collapsed on the boulevard in a panting, salivating heap.  Senseless dog.

I’ve also encountered leaders who remind me a bit of this dog.  They grab on to every conflict and crisis like it was a hated car, and pursue it with a vengeance.  Often, they are so idealistic in their outlook that they feel the need to correct every little flaw or mistake in their world.  They wear themselves out trying to fix things, and for all their admirable efforts are largely criticized or ostracized by others within the organization.  They need a dose of vitamin CYH to bring their idealism back into check.

CYH– Choose your Hill.  Not every battle is going to be equally worthy of your noble efforts.  You need to choose the hills you are going to die on very carefully – unless of course, you want to die early in your career.  That being said, there are certain hills that are absolutely worth dying on – here are some of mine:

·       Hills where justice is being sacrificed.  There are some things that are just plain wrong, and people are hurt by them.  Leaders must correct injustice – it’s a no-brainer.

·       Hills where the organization’s culture is being defined in a way not in keeping with the stated or desired values of that organization.  Your organization’s culture is like its DNA.  It informs every aspect of who you are.  Guard it.

·       Hills that compromise the ethical stance of the organization – in the case of many of our organization that would be an ethic informed by Biblical truth.

So to end off my earlier analogy—there are some cars that need chasing.  Go for it with a vengeance.  Leave the rest.

And while we’re on the subject of dogs, here’s one of my favorite proverbs from the mouth of Solomon: “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.” (26:17).

Good Advice.  Choose your Hills wisely.