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Decision Making Development Entrepreneurship Life Progress Self-awareness

Making One-way Door Decisions

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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:

  1. Get a tattoo.
  2. 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:

  1. Green living
  2. Women rights
  3. Space exploration
  4. Things people carry every day
  5. Street art metamorphosis
  6. Human cloning
  7. Visualising music
  8. Retrospective on children psychology
  9. Art therapy for anger management

Think of how you wanna be remembered in your old age.

  • Influential
  • Impactful
  • Mysterious
  • Financially free
  • Respected
  • Authentic
  • etc.

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

When somebody says that HTML is a programming language, it turns your eyes red and puts your head on fire. You know the slightest differences of each browser and how to make a website tick on each of them. But every time you start a new big project, you have to deal with this question again and again: which JavaScript framework to use?

Should you use React, Angular, or Vue? Should you try Svelte, Preact, Ember.JS, Backbone.js, Mithril.js, Polymer.js, Meteor.js, Aurelia, Express.js, vanilla JavaScript with web components? Or should you just stick with the old friend jQuery?

Once you choose a JavaScript framework for a project, you can switch to another one only when you do a major update of the website, probably in a few years.

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.

Invitation

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.

Final words

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

Categories
Development Life Progress

The Cycle of Long-term Success (UPDATED)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

One kind of events in life happens spontaneously, unplanned, powered by intuition, and seeming random. Calling a friend, buying a chocolate bar, or sitting down on a bench at a fountain doesn’t require special preparation.

Another kind of events requires making hard decisions because of the urge to gain something huge or the risk of losing something important. In those cases, it’s better to get prepared.

In life, as in nature, everything happens in cycles. Previously I introduced you to the cycle of long-term success as I saw it at that moment. Today, I have refined the mentioned cycle, and now it consists of these 5 steps: research, prioritize, plan, act, reflect.

1. Research

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
– Zora Neale Hurston

First of all, before taking a measured action, you would need to find out what your choices are today. You can use a search engine, Wikipedia, references, podcasts, magazines, books, or anything else that provides you with information that you could utilize in your field of focus. Gather information with the intent to incorporate it into your activities.

2. Prioritize

“If everything is important, then nothing is.”
– Patrick M. Lencioni

There are several ways to set priorities for your activities. You can use the flexible and mighty prioritizer “1st things 1st”, decision matrices in Excel sheets, Eisenhower Matrix on a piece of paper, or maybe just selecting the first several priorities intuitively.

3. Plan

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
– Jim Rohn

Put your most important activities on the schedule. You can use Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, monday.com, any other scheduling app, or even an analog calendar on your wall or in your Moleskine. Try not to have more than 3 activities in a day. Book yourself or your colleagues for the vital work to do.

4. Act

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
– William James

Now it’s time to do what you have planned. Have a necessary meeting or a zoom call, speak, write, or perform what’s on your list today this hour.

5. Reflect

It is only by reflecting on the past that one can create a better future.
– Rithy Panh

If you got positive results, celebrate the wins. If you failed, see what you can learn from your mistakes. The next time will be better. Now go back to the first step and do the new research.

Final words

If you master the cycle of long-term success, you form a habit of success. Whether you win or lose, you gain experience and become excellent at what you do.


Cover photo by Ian Stauffer

Categories
Development

Restart with Better Charts

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Not so long ago, calculated priorities at 1st things 1st were displayed together with Radar charts. Was it the best visual representation for the priorities? Or is there anything better for your needs? Something more obvious, customizable, and intuitive?

Radar charts are the past

Radar charts (sometimes called Spider charts) are great for multidimensional comparisons. You have the complete overview at the fingertips and can compare the different items, side by side. Some radar implementations even suggest comparing different things with different dimensions on different layers of the same graph.

Radar charts are the past

But Radar Charts are the past. At least for the 1st things 1st. Because they have these drawbacks:

  • They don’t work well with less than 3 or more than 6 dimensions. In those cases, the best what I could think of was to replace them with Bar charts.
  • If you have different weights for different dimensions, you couldn’t properly represent them in the chart.
  • If the names of the criteria are long, they don’t fit into the dedicated space and make the chart very clumsy and fragile at the same time.

I did some googling and found another type of chart that could work. It was a Polar Area Chart. It’s like a Pie Chart with arcs of the same angles, but different radiuses representing the differences. I believed that with some slight modification, I could achieve even better results.

Aster Plot charts for the win

Some more time researching passed, and finally, I found what I had in my imagination – a rarely used chart which they call Aster Plot chart. Aster Plot Chart is a combo of the Polar Area Chart and Donut Chart.

Reading Aster Plot charts is simple. The more the donut is filled with color, the closer to 100% is its total score.

Aster plot charts for the win

With the Aster Plot chart, you can not only show different dimensions with any amount of them. You can also represent different weights for those dimensions.

Adjusting relative weights for criteria

For example, if we adjusted the relative weights for our criteria, the Aster Plot charts would show arcs of different angles for each weight, and different radiuses for each score.

Aster plot charts with custom weights

The names of the criteria are not gone. They are shown as tooltips on mouseover. And you can have as long names as necessary. I will just need to improve the accessibility by keyboard someday.

Final Words

When creating something innovative and crazy, you can be surprised that other people have already analyzed some steps of your path. Just do some googling, reading, and evaluation, and you’ll find ways that you had never taken or thought. And you’ll learn the vocabulary that you are missing.

Innovation is an original combination of what is already known. And if you haven’t already, try the first of a kind strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Jason Coudriet