Managers in big corporations like Amazon, Virgin, and Facebook use a particular problem-solving approach. Whenever they face a decision to make, at first, they determine if that decision is a two-way door decision or a one-way door decision. Two-way door decisions are cheap. You can try them, see if they work, and get back to the starting point in case of failure. One-way door decisions are harsh. They are related to significant risks and things that you can’t reverse. And even if you do get back, you will never be at the same point where you started. One-way decisions require thorough considerations and should never be rushed.
Corporations are corporations, but can we use this decision-making approach in our own daily lives? Absolutely. Have a look at several custom-tailored examples of how you could make one-way decisions.
A choice to be made for a life explorer
You like adventures. Going to concerts and festivals is in your blood. You feel best when socializing with friends and making new connections. But there is one small problem: you can’t decide whether to get yourself the first tattoo you want or skip. When you have a tattoo, there is no way back. Or at least not an easy way.
So you have two choices, so far:
- Get a tattoo.
- Keep your body tattoo-free.
Think about your values?
Would the tattoo reflect your original personality? Or would the tattoo-free body reflect your personality more?
In 30 years, would you regret more about making a tattoo on your body? Or would you regret more that you decided not to make a tattoo at this time?
Do your health conditions support a tattoo? Or would your health conditions support a clean body more?
Would your body look more aesthetic with a tattoo or without it?
Would you feel more fulfilled with a tattoo or without it?
Does your profession allow you to have a tattoo, or unfortunately not?
Will your friends and relatives support you more with a tattoo or without it?
The list could go on.
Evaluate your choices by all those different criteria. Then sum up the advantages of each approach. And here, you will get a clear picture of whether to have a nonvanishing sign on your skin or rather have plain mundane skin.
A choice to be made for an artist
You are creative. Your head is always full of visuals. Your imagination is rich. You always are ahead with new ideas. But here you go: you need to choose a theme for your next collection. If you do it wrong, you might lose a lot of your followers. Your reputation can be ruined. You won’t be accepted in the most significant exhibition houses anymore.
So you have several themes that you like:
- Green living
- Women rights
- Space exploration
- Things people carry every day
- Street art metamorphosis
- Human cloning
- Visualising music
- Retrospective on children psychology
- Art therapy for anger management
Think of how you wanna be remembered in your old age.
- Financially free
Think about each of your ideas, how they will match your expectations about yourself.
Will the collection about “Green living” make you influential? What about impactful? Will you be considered mysterious if you choose this theme? Can it make you financially safe?
When you evaluate each of your themes by each quality you want to achieve, you will have a clear picture of your topic.
A choice to be made for an NGO fundraiser:
As an NGO fundraiser working for an ecological cause, you have to choose a crowdfunding platform which you will communicate on your website, social media, and press releases. Once the news is out, you can’t get them back. But there are so many crowdfunding platforms to choose from. It’s confusing. Which of them is the best? How not get lost in decision-making fatigue?
Should you choose one of the dinosaurs like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe? Should you go with the plain good PayPal? Or should you make use of one of the new platforms like Kindful, Handbid, Sodality.app, Fundly, Qgiv, 360MatchPro, Donately, Classy, CoinUp, Fundraise Up, RaiseDonors, GivingFuel, you name it? How not get lost in paralysis by analysis?
Think of some criteria which are essential for choosing your crowdfunding platform. Something like these would work:
- Is your category supported on that platform?
- Can you keep what you collected even if you didn’t reach the goal?
- Are the transaction fees low?
- Is the platform fee low or even none?
- Is the monthly fee low or even none?
- Are there giving levels with presents for the donations to motivate the donors?
- How customizable is your fundraising profile?
- Is the platform well known in your country?
Do your research. Answer those questions for each of your platforms. Then sum up the results and see which of the platforms got the most points.
A choice to be made for a project manager
The company you are working at has already gained some traction. Several different potential clients have reached out wanting to get your services. But your resources are limited, and you can only serve 2 or 3 of them at a time. Which of them should you choose? Once you establish a connection, you have to stick with it: the projects and the clients will be listed in your portfolio, web searches, press, etc.
Do you have a vision of an ideal client? Think of some criteria for choosing your best clients. For example, some of them could be:
- How much are your goals shared?
- How much do you respect that client?
- How much do you believe in their brand?
- How much do they respect what you do?
- How much those clients fit your culture and ways of communication?
- How willing are you to work on their project?
- How competent is your company to work with this client’s needs?
- How much are those clients ready to pay for the quality instead of just costs?
- How much is it likely to form long-term collaborations with this client?
Anything more to add?
Evaluate each of those questions for each client with a number from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely). Then sum up the points for each client and see your winners.
A choice to be made for a frontend engineer
Start with the criteria:
- Is that framework trending this year?
- Has it been growing on Google trends?
- Does it feel familiar?
- Is it simple to start with?
- Is the documentation clear and extensive?
- Do you like the coding principles in that framework?
- Are there enough StackOverflow answers about that framework?
- Is there a friendly and helping community behind the framework?
- Are there enough jobs using this framework in your city, country, or remotely?
- Does this framework has enough Github stars?
Add more criteria if you consider something is missing.
Do some googling, read some articles, do what you need, and answer those questions for each of your frameworks. Then sum up your yeses, and here you have the answer!
A choice to be made for a startup founder
You have produced an app and bootstrapped a company, the sales are happening, you have a stable income, but you want to scale it now and need some extra money for the new hires and marketing. Which financing option should you choose – that’s a question.
- Should you fund yourself with money from your family?
- Should you seek venture capital?
- Could an Angel investor help you?
- Should you rely on funding-based investment companies?
- Would you consider crowdfunding?
- Or is crowdinvesting a better option?
- Should you get a bank loan?
- What about getting a grant?
- Are you in Europe and would like to get European Union funding?
Which of those financing options are best for your business?
Let’s start with the criteria. By what criteria could you evaluate your financing options? My hint would be those:
- How likely can your business afford this type of financing?
- How likely is your time in business appropriate for getting this type of financing?
- How likely can you get the required amount from this type of financing?
- How likely will your credit history allow this type of financing?
- How much is this financing option based on your chosen financing form (debt or equity)?
- How likely will the economic period (current growth or recession) allow this type of financing?
- How much do you like the lender or investor?
Would you add anything else?
Evaluate each financing option from each perspective with likeliness points from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely). Then sum up the points for each option, and you’ll get the winners.
If you are tired of Excel sheets and pen and paper are too limiting, I invite you to try and use the strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st“. There you can evaluate things by multiple criteria and get your priorities sorted out.
With the tool, you can evaluate your things with yes or no answers or gradually. Also, you can set different weights for different criteria if some of them are more important to you.
Some decisions we make in our lives are reversible. People call them “two-way door decisions.” But other decisions have a major impact on your life and work, and you cannot easily get back to the point where you started. These are called “one-way door decisions.”
When you face a one-way door decision, you can’t act spontaneously and have to evaluate your choices from all the different perspectives.
To do that efficiently, you can make use of strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st”. See you there!
Cover photo by Brett Jordan