Every year for nearly 185 years the Cambridge and Oxford rowing teams have competed with each other to win the prestigious annual prize. The wins have been nearly evenly split and the teams are super competitive – training religiously all year to fight and win.

To win the teams have to make many decisions – from training regimen to the selection of the team members. Also while rowing in the middle of the heat of the battle, there are many decisions to be made.

One of the legendary Cambridge Boat Club managers Roger Stephens came up with a very simple question that you can use when you have to make any decision ?

Will this make the boat go faster ? 

The boat is a metaphor for your business, your team, your start up or anything else that you are working on.

So when you have to ask yourself whether to do something or not the simple question of “will it make the boat / business go faster “ can help very often to decide if it is worth doing or not. Here are some practical examples of applying the questions from my last week at work

Will this make the boat go faster ?

Decision to be made


Push to start the new exports venture in Asia in Q4 instead of Q1 ?


Hire an additional customer service resource in Europe ?


Attend a training on a new software being implemented ?


Develop a new pack for the out of home market in Europe


This simple question brings everything back to it’s essence. Will it help to make our business better and make it go faster and achieve our set goals. If you find it hard to clearly say Yes or No simply put all the questions and decisions in front of you and say which of these will clearly make the boat go faster and say YES to them. All others are a clear NO until you can find an obvious reason to say YES.

Another powerful way to use the Stephens Question is to ask

“What” will make the boat go faster ?

Now you use this to list down the top ideas that will help accelerate the business.

Use the stephens question to make decisions and choices at work. Its been proven to work for a very long time.

Get a weekly doze of inspiration right in your inbox!


    Get your weekly doze of inspiration right in your inbox!

      © AseemPuri 2020. All Rights Reserved