Steve Lishansky

By Steve Lishansky

50 Choices Dilemma of Leadership Decision Making

50 Choices Dilemma of Leadership Decision Making 150 150 Steve Lishansky

Decision Making

In leadership decision making, “What should I do next?”, is the most consistently asked question.  Every great leader, manager, and professional needs to make these decisions well to be highly successful.

I challenge leaders to address this systemically by considering their thinking and decision-making on what I call the ‘50 Choices Dilemma.’

50 Choices Dilemma

Very briefly it goes like this: You have 50 things to do on your to-do list – for many leaders that would be a pretty good day. I am going to offer you 2 very common options, and ask which one are you would choose?

One more caveat – you only get to choose one of these options, and you never get to have the other one. Your choices: you can either choose to do priorities 1, 2, and 3 on your list, but you never touch the other 47; or, you can take care of priorities number 4 to 50, but you never get to touch numbers 1, 2 and 3.

Every competent leader and top professional knows what the answer should be.  But when I ask this question, extending one hand to represent each choice, everybody hesitates, instinctively starts to lean a little toward the hand holding the 47 to-do’s, and thinks: “Forty-seven things off my to-do list?  What a great day.  How could I do that?”

Top 3 Priorities

We all know the best answer is to take care of the top three priorities.  So why do we hesitate – or even think about choosing priorities 4 to 47?  We all know common sense says: Take care of priorities 1, 2, and 3.  The rest are secondary, and we should be taking care of them ONLY AFTER the most critical ones are taken care of. But we look at our rush of things to do, and we just attack our list of things to do.

The greatest failure comes from not even knowing what priorities 1, 2, and 3 are.  It is hard to choose the most effective option when that choice is not even clear.  Always knowing what your top priorities are is essential for every leader, manager, and effective professional.

Decision Making

If you want your team and organization to be far more effective, make sure everybody knows what priorities 1, 2, and 3 are. With that knowledge clearly communicated, everything will be far more successful and effective.  Oh, and your performance and results will massively improve as well.

Knowing and choosing to act on priorities 1, 2, and 3 is decision-making at the most effective, common-sense level. However, it is too rarely common practice.

One of my primary messages to everyone who cares about outstanding performance and results is: When common sense becomes common practice, amazing results become commonplace.

To accelerating and elevating your success,


To learn more on how to optimize your decision-making process, schedule an intro call at