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One question you should ask when making a decision

We make thousands of decisions a day. Some are conscious decisions. Others are unconscious. Good news is we have some good leverages around to make our decision making a little bit easier.

We make thousands of decisions a day. Some are conscious decisions. Others are unconscious. To be even more accurate, some sources suggest we make 35.000 decisions a day.


That’s daunting, isn’t it? But don’t worry, we have some good leverages around us to make our decision making a little bit easier.


We can learn and start using one-way, two-way door decision-making approach.

What is a two-way door decision?

As human beings, we have a tendency to be over analysers. We want to learn all the things. We want to do things properly. This sometimes slows our decision-making process. It creates an analysis paralysis without any action.


Jeff Bezos, in one of his earlier annual stakeholder letters, introduced two types of decisions.


The first type is “one-way doors”. These ones need long and careful consideration. In his own words:


“[These] decisions must be made methodically, carefully, slowly, with great deliberation and consultation. If you walk through and don’t like what you see on the other side, you can’t get back to where you were before. We can call these Type 1 decisions.”


Yet, most decisions aren’t like that. Neither in business or in life. Most of them are changeable, reversible. They’re two-way doors.


Again with his own words:


“If you’ve made a two-way door decision, you don’t have to live with the consequences for that long. You can reopen the door and go back through.”


Bezos says in the letter that there is a tendency in big organizations to treat decisions as irreversible when actually, they are reversible.


“As organizations get larger, there seems to be a tendency to use the heavy-weight one-way door decision-making process on most decisions, including many two-way door decisions. The end result of this is slowness, unthoughtful risk aversion, failure to experiment sufficiently, and consequently diminished invention. We’ll have to figure out how to fight that tendency.” (source)

Next time ask yourself

Is it a one-way door or two-way door decision?


Make reversible decisions as soon as possible and make irreversible decisions as late as possible.


I’m helping ambitious people to master how to think better so they can live their life better. If you liked this post, join me and get signals in the noise.

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