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Leading Deadlines For Decisions

By May 1, 2011February 14th, 2019Articles, leadership, Leadership

He asked her to marry him but she couldn’t give him an answer. She loved him. She wasn’t a decision maker. Finally, he reiterated his love and desire for marriage but told her he needed her answer in two weeks. If she couldn’t decide by then, sadly, he would move on.

You might call it an ultimatum. From a business point of view, it was a deadline.

She always knew her answer was yes. However, fear paralysed her. Twenty years later they have two children and a happy home. Setting a deadline might seem harsh but it freed her to decide. Additionally, it enabled both of them to embrace a new beginning.

Deadlines create launching points. It’s a great story shared by Dan Rockwell in his blog.


All too often my clients will say to me they have asked a team member to do something but they haven’t done it. When I ask if they had provided a deadline, the response in general was no. Realistic deadlines create urgency, refocus the team, motivate creativity, and enhance productivity. In effect what it does is it provides the person with a choice to meet the timeframe or not. It also presents an opportunity for negotiation and discussion on the task/s at hand.


Unfocused, indecisive leaders destroy morale and insult the ability of their team to execute. If you make a decision, great people can make it happen if you let them. Indecisive leaders create teams that eventually turn on each other, create useless work, or begin making emotional irrelevant decisions. Indecisive leaders generally do not have the respect of those around them.


As a leader you need to be great at making decisions. Some need to be immediate and others can be considered. If you are aware that you are one of those people who have trouble making a decision, in business or in your personal life then try setting a deadline, put it in the diary, be disciplined and make a call.