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What Should We Do?

T4 Questions

"The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do."
- Michael Porter

As leaders, this is a persistent and complex question you face. The question requires you balance immediate needs with long-term goals, and individual contributions with organizational priorities.

The answer? Rarely straightforward.

It involves navigating through ambiguity, uncertainty, and often, conflicting interests. As a leader you must sift through data, discern patterns, and make imperfect choices that also align with your organization's vision and values.

This complexity is heightened by the rapid pace of change, where new challenges and opportunities arise constantly.

This is why you must adopt and lead your teams through decision frameworks – focusing on the how over the what. Here's a five step approach that you can use as a foundation:

  • Define the Problem: Gather data, seek stakeholder input, and frame the issue accurately.

  • Set Objectives: Determine what success looks like, including financial targets, market positioning, or cultural shifts.

  • Explore and Evaluate Options: Brainstorm a range of actions, then assess their pros, cons, feasibility, risks, and impact.

  • Ask Questions and Seek Evidence: Respond with questions like "What do we know?" and "Where is the early evidence?" to uncover insights and guide decisions.

  • Decide and Communicate: Make the decision, communicate it clearly to stakeholders, and ensure understanding of the rationale and roles. Monitor outcomes and adjust as needed.

As the leader, it's your responsibility to create an environment where informed decisions can be made, and where team members feel empowered to contribute their insights. This involves fostering a culture of transparency, collaboration, and continuous learning.

Effective process and awareness ensures you avoid these common pitfalls such as analysis paralysis, embedded biases, and lack of alignment.

"What should we do?" is at the heart of leadership.

Each resource this week is hand-picked to help you adopt structured decision-making frameworks, ask additional questions, seek early evidence, and avoid common pitfalls. Let’s dive in!


Effective Leaders Decide About Deciding

(words)– via Nancy Duarte

Every leader should design and communicate how they want to make decisions. Making it clear what you care about, what you need to know about, and what you’re tasking others to move on will help minimize confusion about who should be making which decisions. It also helps clarify when you as the leader can be kept out of a decision, when you should be pulled in, and how requests for your feedback should be communicated.

The Four Villains of Decision Making

(words | video) – via Matthew Confer

We’re quick to jump to conclusions because we give too much weight to the information in front of us and we fail to search for new information, which might disprove our thoughts. Nobel Prize winning Psychologist Daniel Kahneman called this tendency “what you see is all there is.” But that’s not the only reason we don’t make good decisions — there are many others.

We’re overconfident. We look for information that fits our thoughts and ignore information that doesn’t. We are overly influenced by authority. We choose the short-term over the long-term. Once we’ve made a decision we find it hard to change our mind. In short, our brains are flawed. I could go on.

Knowing about these and other biases isn’t enough; it doesn’t help us fix the problem. We need a framework for making decisions. 

The Power of No

(words | audio) – via Vanessa Patrick

Saying no can seem risky. We worry about offending others, damaging relationships, or hurting our own reputation. But as Vanessa Patrick says, no is an empowering word that gives us greater agency in our lives.

Saying no “is not a rejection of the other person,” says Patrickopen in new window, professor of marketing at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. Instead, it allows you to set boundaries and “[give] voice to what you believe and what you care about.”

In her book, The Power of Saying No, Patrick introduces what she calls “empowered refusal,” a way of saying no that’s rooted in one’s identity, values, priorities, and preferences. “An empowered no,” she says, “is about us, not a rejection of the other person.”


Strategic Advisor

Hey 👋 - I'm Noah!
founder of TOGETHER 4

I help impact leaders build better. Think of me as your growth partner – part strategic advisor and part leadership coach. 

After spending 15+ years in-house designing growth plans and building teams, I’m now a consultant lending my experience and learnings to you, while building the community where impact leaders gather and grow.

I’ve led and advised growth at organizations such as Virtuous, Feathr, HubSpot, World Help, The Adventure Project, CauseVox, and many more.

Whether you’re on the frontlines fighting for change or building better tech and services to activate more – you’re an impact leader, and I’m here to help. Book your complimentary discovery session today.