Practical insights for leaders

Sharpen Your Decision-Making & Increase Your Productivity

Working with leaders, I am reminded about the number of important decisions and judgement calls that they have to make every day. The quality of their thinking not only shapes the trajectory of their careers but also influences organisational performance. So, how do we make better decisions if we cannot magic more hours in the day? I have highlighted some thought-provoking perspectives and practical tools below.


Our recommended reads / listens / watches this month…. 

PODCAST:  Noise: How to Overcome the High, Hidden Cost of Inconsistent Decision Making | Daniel Kahneman | NY Times (35 mins)

A fascinating listen! Daniel Kahneman is one of the world’s greatest minds and he may just make you rethink how you evaluate people, make decisions, and solve problems. ’Noise’ is Kahneman’s term for the natural variability humans bring to decision making (and the subject of his new co-written book). Wherever there is judgment, there is noise. And the impact is widely under-appreciated. With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and therefore make far better decisions. Jump to 25mins in for the actionable takeaways. 

ARTICLE: Digitise or Die: Re-thinking Competitive Advantage | Ram Charan | The Irish Times (4 mins) 

My coaching exposes me to leaders in both large ‘incumbent’ organisations and ‘digital natives’, and the differences in leadership orientation and strategic approach are often fascinating. This article by former HBS professor, Ram Charan, includes an excellent summary of what leaders of more traditional companies could glean from their digital-native peers. These learnings include rethinking who your competitors are, not being afraid to cannibalise your existing offering, and challenging yourself to learn about things you know nothing about. 

VIDEO:   The Art of Stress-Free Productivity | David Allen | TEDx (22 mins)

Adopting David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ (GTD) methodology super-charged my productivity. This TEDx video is a solid GTD intro/refresher. In Allen’s view, time management is rarely about the time you actually have, it’s more about the space you have in your life to actually think and be creative. Once we gain the right perspective on what we want to do, and what steps we must take in order to take action, we can then free up our “mental bandwidth” and live fuller, more present-oriented lives.



Undertake a ‘calendar audit’ to compare your strategic priorities with how you are spending your time. This simple tool is especially useful for leaders who feel overwhelmed with urgent deliverables and struggle to tackle longer-term strategic initiatives.

1.  Rank order your 3-5 professional priorities over the next 12 months.
2.  Review your calendar for the next two weeks and add up how much time is allocated to each priority.
3.  Compare the results of step 1 with step 2. What do you notice?
 –  Are there strategic priorities that you are not spending enough time on? 
 –  What are your options regarding the meetings that do not align with your priorities? 
 –  What action will you take today to create better alignment between your strategic priorities and time commitments?


A healthy reminder… are your questions really questions?!