Purpose-led, values-based decision making

Decision making when you’re under fire, either literally or metaphorically, isn’t easy.

It takes heightened awareness, the considered selection of an appropriate course of action, continuous review, and drive to see it through. Military decision making processes can help you move from a place of mind-boggling complexity and danger to one of safety, and onwards towards delivering on your purpose.

It’s what helped me during a first 30-year career in the military. It’s helped me work through the shock of being made redundant. It’s helped me work through some shocking verbal abuse by a toxic boss. It’s helped me work through some fast-moving opportunities.

It’s the way we lead when the shit has hit the fan. Or when an amazing opportunity materialises. It’s a good way of leading strategically as a matter of course. And right now, finding yourself in an existential crisis is as strategic as it gets.

As we’re hitting week four of lockdown with no end date in sight, I’d like to share that way with you. Think of it as military experience meets Maslow. Let me know if this helps you too.

Fight, freeze, flee; have a cup of tea!

How have you been coping? Fight, flight, and freeze are animal instincts triggered by your “lizard” brain. You will have noticed your own reaction to the crisis and those around you.

Maybe you have gone into instinctive decision-action mode yet noticed colleagues and family members who have withdrawn and curled up, and others who have busied themselves with non-essential stuff and needed help to become more functional.

On the other side of these instinctive reactions, leaders need to access the slower firing “modern” brain in order to take in a situation, make sense of it, and chart a way forward. Think of taking a moment, having a cup of tea, and having a jolly good think and chat about what’s going on! Think of this as an opportunity to lead by asking and finding the answers to critical questions.

And if you ask questions which are linked to your values and strategic business drivers, the answers will open up ways towards keeping your show on the road and achieving your purpose.

Military meets Maslow. A decision support tool.

The “Purpose and Values-Based Strategic Decision Tool” is derived from how the military think and act their way through everything from the immediacy of an incident to longer term planning of strategic campaigns. It’s a tool which encourages the user to consider how to think rather than what to think.

This is critical in both senses of the word. We have combined this into a Maslow-style hierarchy populated by a number of what we call values-based strategic drivers. You could develop this model with your own.

And please do help yourself. It this can work for you then please put it to good use. Right now, the combination in the model works well for us.

If you’d like a chat about decision making in your business during this time of crisis, let me know. Very happy to help.

Best wishes,

Dave Stewart

Founder and Managing Director


+44 7776 153428