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Leadership Nudge® 316 – The To-Do List and the To-Decide List

Traditionally, we send “decision-making” up the chain of command and “taking action” down the chain. Now we want to activate everyone’s thinking.  Create a Decide List for your team and invite them into the decision making. This will move your boss into a support role of bringing you resources and performing actions that help advance the team


Today I want to talk about to-do lists.

Now, traditionally, we love to-do lists because we can check things off. And we get a sense of accomplishment. We keep to-do lists for ourselves and for the people working for us. We can go check on that. But what about a to-decide list? Well, that’s about thinking. If we keep a to-decide list, it’s for our boss, because we have to go to our boss and say, “I need you to make a decision on this so I can move forward.” 

So here’s my Nudge.

Let’s flip that. Because pushing decision making and thinking up and doing and action down is the traditional Industrial Age way of designing organization. What we want is to activate everybody’s thinking. 

So create a to-decide list for your team where you’re inviting them into the decision making, i.e. thinking space, and create a to-do list for your boss.  “Hey, I need you to do this, and that, and this to support the team.” Because now you’re allowing your boss, the leader, to act in a support role and bring you resources and actions that help advance the team. So to-do lists go up and to-decide this go down. 

I’m David Marquet and that’s your Leadership Nudge®.



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