my musings on technology

Decision Making: Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage

Posted by on Aug 10, 2009 in Musings | 0 comments

Decision Making: Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage

ScrumThe purpose of the scrum in the game of rugby union (the sport played in heaven by the way) is defined by the International Rugby Board (the governing body) as “a way to restart play quickly, safely and fairly, after a minor infringement or a stoppage.”

In an effort to make the scrums more organized and controlled the International Rugby Board changed the way the referee calls the scrum together. The referee will call “crouch” then “touch”. The front rows crouch and using their outside arm to touch the opposing players’ shoulder. The referee will then call “pause”. Following a pause the referee will then call “engage”. The front rows may then engage.

I saw the South African Springboks beat up on the Australian Wallabies in the Tri-Nations tournament this weekend. Hearing the referee say “crouch, touch, pause, engage” really got me thinking about how this applies to everyday life in so many ways.

Let’s explore this scrum analogy. “Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage”


Get down eye to eye with your issue. Whether this be a potential new product, employee or opportunity – you need to get down and dirty and examine it from the perspective of the issue. Let’s take a potential new CRM system as an example – when you’re in the product discovery meetings, try to put yourself in the position of the end user of the product, and not the person that’s approving the product. IT usually implements the CRM system, but very few IT personnel have any field sales experience. The field sales people will be the ones living in the CRM system – make sure you truly examine the product from their perspective


Never move forward on a decision without at least feeling the issue out. In the CRM product example above you should ‘kick the tires’ and see how the product will work in your environment. Have a representative from the field sales team involved in the ‘touching’ process. Be cautious of issues / opportunities that you can’t feel out before making a decision.


This is the most important part of the decision making process. Never get rushed into making a decision! I find the best way to see if the decision you’ve made is the right one, is to make the decision internally and then sit on it. Don’t tell anyone your decision – just commit to it in your mind and see how it sits with you over a couple of days. In my experience, you will know if you’ve made the right decision or not with how it feels internally. If you’re excited about the decision – you’ve probably made the right one. If you’re still questioning your decision – then you probably want to get back to the drawing board and tackle the issue from another angle.


This is the most fulfilling part of the decision making process! If you’ve followed the steps above and the decision is sitting well internally, then engage and engage aggressively. Now is the time to action your decision and show everyone around you that you’ve confidently made your decision and it is time to execute!

I recently attended a Predictive Index session here at work. The Predictive Index is designed to provide a “practical, reliable indicator of workplace behavior, to help you make sound, people-smart decisions with the best results for the company and for the people themselves”. One of my strongest behavioral traits (apparently) is that I am “impatient for results” and that I “put pressure on myself and others for rapid implementation”. I like making fast and informed decisions – give me the details and the justification and I’ll give you a yes or no quickly, but then expect you to implement and deliver! As a result I find myself impatient to make a decision because I want to engage and implement! Personally, I really need to concentrate on “pausing” and digesting my decision before engaging!

I encourage you when making your next decision to think about the steps involved. Find out where you fall short in the decision making process, and most importantly, pause before committing! Sit on your decision and see how it feels after a day or two. You’ll find that you make better decision that you will be much more confident about and that will lead to better implementation and execution!

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