A useful decision making tool


One of my very first lessons as a consultant was the value of 2×2 grids, which seemed to be used for everything from getting boy scouts out of horses’ hooves to proving they were geniuses!  Well here is another one, but it can be a handy way of making a decision.

Give honest answers to the following questions (and this can be used on your own or with your team)




1.  What will happen if this happens (and what do we get from it)?  What are the natural consequences?

2.  What happens if this doesn’t happen?  Will everything stay the same?  What are the advantages of not doing it?

3.  What won’t happen if this happens?  So what are the disadvantages of this course; what does it impede or prevent?

4.  What won’t happen if this doesn’t happen?  What are the disadvantages or costs of not doing it?  Be careful with the double negative in this question and make sure you aren’t answering question 1 all over again.

By taking four different perspectives on the same question, you are more likely to make a rounded decision.  Variants of this technique, when working with a team, are  to split it up and get every one to answer one or two bits of this and present back.  Or you could have people prepare their individual takes on it and add their new input to the growing answer.

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