Discussion or Decision?


The story is told of a CEO who mounted a billiards scoreboard in the corporate board room, immediately behind their seat. As people came into the room, they learned to “check the scoreboard”. If the sliders were on the left side of the board, then the CEO was looking to discuss ideas with them. If the sliders were on the right side of the board, then the CEO was going to announce a decision and the meeting would be about how to implement it.

People often complain that the boss “can’t make up their mind”. Leaders sometimes confess their frustration that their direct reports “don’t know when to stop arguing and get on with doing”. Both of those things can happen and we’ll explore them in future posts.


For now however, consider the following questions:

    • How do I let my staff know when I am looking for discussion? Do they understand my expectations around this?
    • How do I let them know when I have made a decision and the matter is closed? Do they understand my expectations of them when I announce a decision?
    • How do I feel about being this explicit about my intentions? What does that tell me?
    • A billiards scoreboard will set you back about $50.00. What other options could you use?

A great leadership mentor once told me “accurately communicating your intent is the most difficult thing that you have to do as a leader.” How is this working for you? Contact me and let’s talk about it.