The one page memo

Ronald Reagan, along with other leaders such as Winston Churchhill and Dwight Eisenhower, used a “controversial management device” to help them in the decision making process – The One Page Memo.

Stephen F. Hayward describes the process like this:

Reagan required agency officials and staff to boil down a pending issue into a one-page format with the following four elements: the issue, the facts, reasoning, and recommendations. (The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order: 1964-1980), pg. 165)

This could be a helpful tool in any decision making environment (e.g. the home, church, workplace, etc.).

One page forces the thinker/writer to be clear… and that’s the reason most of us are indecisive… a lack of clarity. Clarity in these four areas will be of service to anyone making decisions:

  • The issue = what exactly is the problem?
  • The facts = how is this problem impacting us?
  • The reasoning = why is this problem happening?
  • the recommendations = what do you recommend we do to resolve the problem?

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