1 And now it came to pass that Ammon and king Limhi began to consult with the people how they should deliver themselves out of bondage; and even they did cause that all the people should gather themselves together; and this they did that they might have the voice of the people concerning the matter.
2 And it came to pass that they could find no way to deliver themselves out of bondage, except it were to take their women and children, and their flocks, and their herds, and their tents, and depart into the wilderness; for the Lamanites being so numerous, it was impossible for the people of Limhi to contend with them, thinking to deliver themselves out of bondage by the sword.
3 Now it came to pass that Gideon went forth and stood before the king, and said unto him: Now O king, thou hast hitherto hearkened unto my words many times when we have been contending with our brethren, the Lamanites.
4 And now O king, if thou hast not found me to be an unprofitable servant, or if thou hast hitherto listened to my words in any degree, and they have been of service to thee, even so I desire that thou wouldst listen to my words at this time, and I will be thy servant and deliver this people out of bondage.
After the arrival of Ammon in the land of Lehi-Nephi, King Limhi became hopeful that he could lead his people out of captivity and reunite with the inhabitants of Zarahemla. However, it’s one thing to believe that something can be done; it’s quite another to have a plan that will work. In an effort to create such a plan, Limhi and Ammon “began to consult with the people how they should deliver themselves out of bondage; and even they did cause that all the people should gather themselves together; and this they did that they might have the voice of the people.” This was a good approach. The collective efforts of a large number of people would generate many more ideas than a small group of people operating alone, and the people were more likely to buy into a plan if they had been part of the process of creating it.
I love the following advice in the Church Handbook about how ward councils should make decisions:
During [a ward council] meeting, the bishop explains each matter being considered, but he does not normally decide how to resolve the matter until he has heard the discussion. He encourages discussion without dominating it. He asks questions and may ask particular council members for their suggestions. He listens carefully before making a decision. These discussions should foster a spirit of inspiration.
Council members are encouraged to speak honestly, both from their personal experience and from their positions as organization leaders. Both men and women should feel that their comments are valued as full participants. The bishop seeks input from Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary leaders in all matters considered by the ward council. The viewpoint of women is sometimes different from that of men, and it adds essential perspective to understanding and responding to members’ needs (Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 4.6 Ward Council Meetings).
Today, when I have the opportunity to make decisions, whether at work or at home, I will follow the examples of Limhi and Ammon: I will ask the people who will be affected by the decision for their ideas. I will avoid jumping to a conclusion, or even expressing my opinion too forcefully until I have heard the discussion. I will make it a priority to hear diverse points of view and to learn from people with different backgrounds in order to maximize the probability of making the right decision.