There is a project proposal due for budget approval. It has been sent to the relevant decision makers. It’s been weeks. No clear response or decision has been made and the decision has been kicked down the road to the next month.

A pricing decision has to be made but it has been pending with one of your colleagues for a while. This is impacting financials and you have been following up without result.

In companies things get stuck. In a net of decisions and emails sometimes they get delayed. This creates a bottleneck for someone else in the organisation.

Sometimes junior team mates will grapple with an issue which they cannot resolve going around in circles. For months. Check how many times there are email trails going back 3-4 months.

What is the solution ? Implement the 5 day alignment rule.

It simply says that any issue, no matter how small or large when it is stuck will not remain stuck for more than 5 days. When after 5 days it is unresolved it will be escalated to the next level – the higher level manager or the division head or even the CEO for a decision.

This creates a sense of urgency and decision making. The 5 day rule brings clarity and ensures that everyone knows that there are consequences to delays and not making clear decisions.

The 5 day rule also recognizes that sometimes all the information or the risk taking appetite is not available at a certain level of the organisation hence elevating the issue helps to bring the right focus to the decision.

So if the proposal is stuck and feedback is unclear, after 5 days elevate the issue to the next level for a clear decision or clear feedback or both.

If a colleague has to complete a task and it is not done after 5 days of the deadline raise the point to the superior in the organisation.

5 days is sufficient time for any proposal, presentation or analysis to be done. 5 days means 1 working week is the maximum time between when something should have happened and when something does happen.

This change will bring more urgency, commitment, clarity and focus to decisions in the organization. It may ruffle some feathers but post that everyone will learn to fly faster and higher.

The 5 day rule can change any organization from slow and sleepy to agile and urgent.

Try the 5 day rule today – change the way you make decisions.

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