Leadership Soapbox – Leadership Decision Making part 4

It’s time to act – what to do after making a leadership decision.


Hi, my name’s Neil Poynter.

And welcome to this week’s episode of The Leadership Soapbox.

If you’re new here, you’re very welcome. You catch us in part four of my series on decision-making in my Stop, Think, Act series. And in part three last week, we actually made the decision. So you might be going “well, what is there left to do?” Well, now we come to the act.

And if we think about it, the whole reason we make decisions is to drive action. Either we’re going to do something or we’re not going to do something, but something is now going to change. Something has got to happen, or else there was no point in us going through that whole decision-making process.

So decisions are all about driving action. So really they just facilitate this last piece which is the act.

So in this piece, I want to divide this up into three bits, the when, the what and the who and these three questions that you need to ask yourself right now, as soon as the decision is made, what actions do you now need to take?

So let’s start having a think about it. I mentioned when, first of all, okay, this is critical. I think on almost every single one of these videos time has come into this in some way.

When do we need to act?

We’ve made the decision, okay. When does the first thing that’s going to happen as a result of this decision? When do we actually start this project or whatever it is, we’ve decided, when’s it going to start? How long have we got between now and when it gets going because that is going to dictate everything.

Everything is going to come down to the time available. How much time I can spend planning, how much time we can spend consulting about things. You know, all of that is now all going to be driven by time.

So let me give you a little tool that’s taught in the army and it’s called the one-third, two-thirds rule. So let’s say we have something that we’re going to launch. A mission to build a bridge or whatever it was in three days time. Okay, if we’re going to actually start the operation or start the project. In three days, time, I am going to use one-third of that time for my activity and allow two-thirds of that available time for everybody else.

So, one-third of the time for me and my team to do our whatever it is we need to do and we’ll come to that in a moment. And then two-thirds of the available time is available to those other people in the cascade of information to do what they need to do.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t communicate anything at all right now, right up the front and I want to say this in the when because as soon as we know this decision what I want to do is to communicate that decision to those people who need to know that comes into the who in a minute, but why?

Because they can start what we would have called in the army concurrent activity. People can start thinking about what it is that we’re going to be doing. They can start thinking through, they can start some of their preliminary planning without having all the details from us right now. Now we can give them as much as we can. So it would give them a sort of outlined scope with some critical information on it that allows them to start their planning. Meanwhile, we get into our detailed planning.

So the when, is absolutely critical everything that now happens. And I can’t emphasise that enough, know your timings, be aware of the time and how long you’ve got at the end of the decision. Okay? So that’s the when.


Now I’ve already mentioned two things, communication and planning. Okay, communication, communication, communication in any big project or anything that we’re doing make sure that we are communicating. And we, that first communication needs to go out as soon as the decision is made, as early as you possibly can, let’s get the information out there so that people can start acting on it.

Also planning, okay. We all know the seven P’s. Prior, preparation and planning prevents poor performance. Fail to plan, plan to fail, you know, all those old cries. The decision may have been about what are we going to do? We may not have yet gone into the how are we going to do it.

Now, of course, there’s a whole nother series of decisions. Stop, Think Act but we need to get into our planning process. Well, go back to the, when, how long have I got available, for my planning one-third, two-thirds but we need to start our planning.

What is the activity that needs to happen in order to launch this? Whatever it is, this decision on time, absolutely critical.

We then come to the who.

Who needs to know, who are the people who are going to be impacted by this?

Who are your stakeholders?

If we’re talking project management terms who are the stakeholders who now need to get involved or be told, be informed of what the decision is. And I said about being involved, we may now want to convene a planning team to get together to start the detailed planning. So who do we need involved? Who needs to be informed? Who are the stakeholders, who are critical now that they are updated as to what the decision is and how do we move forward?

So actually we’re talking about decision-making and let’s wrap this up now, all four parts we’ve been talking about decision-making but decision-making is just part of an activity cycle that goes from idea to decision, to planning, to execution. And so we go round, this is all part of a project thinking but it’s also part of our daily work.

And we need to be thinking about it. Now, I hope that set of videos has been useful. This is something I’m perhaps going to expand into a course.

And if you’re interested in some training around decision-making, then let me know. You know, if you pass this on to your bosses or whoever you is, you know, you think needs to know this but what would be the impact on your business if people were making better decisions?

Let’s have a conversation about it. And I’d be very interested to hear where people think this all of this Stop, Think, Act can be applied. Brent, I hope that’s been useful. Click, like, subscribe. If you want to catch up with some other stuff. I think next I’m going to start talking a bit about influencing. As some people have been asking me about that with stakeholders and particularly in projects, I’m perhaps going to go into that area. Anyway, hope you’ve enjoyed that stop, think, act decision-making process, and I’ll speak to you soon.

More from Stop, Think, Act the decision-making series

Decision making part 1 – Stop

Decision making part 2 – Think part 1

Decision making part 3 – Think part 2

Decision making part 4 – Act