Don’t Make Me Think

Don’t Make Me Think was a game-changing book on web design for me that has fundamentally changed the way I think about the web and software and websites.

But the philosophical approach is so useful in so many other areas of my life, particularly as a leader and entrepreneur, who faces deep questions and decisions every day and week.

Too many times we off-load and delegate thinking to others, whether that be clients, customers or our leaders.

We get great at presenting the problem in a nice package. And then we go, “What do you want to do?”

But most of the time that’s stopping halfway and unnecessarily taxing the recipients of our asks in big ways that have big and drastic ripple effects.

But here’s how I’ve started to address the dialog:

Others: “Hey, here’s a problem that’s come up. What do you want to do?”

Cory: “Cool, what do you think we should do?”

Yeah. I put it back on them.

I’m basically saying, You can’t just delegate decisions and the tough work to just me. We’re in this together.

Here are a couple of reasons I do that:

  • I have finite amount of decision making energy every day (ref. Decision Fatigue) – I want to spend it wisely.
  • I might be have the final say in things, but I’m not the sole decider of things. I mostly work in collaboration with others and for good reason.
  • I want to hear their perspective from their experiences and expertise to help me ultimately make a decision (if needed) — I’d be dumb not to leverage all of that!

But here’s my favorite: I believe each of us humans have the greatest supercomputer ever in existence (so far) … our brains. And I want others to apply it and use it for the best output possible.

I look at it like this …

All the collective brains of my team, my advisors, my mentors, my peers, with their vast amount of processing power, filtered through the lens of their unique experiences and expertise, is my personal version of AWS for making great decisions.

But here’s the best reason to do this of all ….


It gives others a measure of autonomy and a voice in the process. So key to getting “owner culture” aka buy-in on your team and in your organizations.

I don’t want robots.

I want enthusiastic, all-in collaborators.

And as a leader, it’s my job to continue to provide a psychologically safety, coach and share my expectations, give them boundaries wide enough to stretch them but not fall off a cliff, and to push them to use ALL of themselves in the fulfillment of our grand mission(s).

They will see things I don’t.

They will have ideas that are 10 times better than mine.

And if they feel a part of the process and creating our shared future together, I’ll get their best and brightest and we’ll go FARTHER together.

I know because that’s what we did at iThemes over 10+ years TOGETHER.


This post is part of my 30 Days of Clicking Publish

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