Decision making is a key skill for any entrepreneur. Decisions you make ripple forward into the future. A decision you make today can be the difference between success 5 years from now or having to dig yourself out of a deep hole 5 years from now.
In this post, we'll look at one of the simplest (yet highly effective) tools to make better decisions immediately.
Add a Dimension
The first mistake most people make when it comes down to a decision is that they don't have a plan to begin with. Most of us simply aren't deliberate in our decision making, most of the time.
Now, if you're deciding between pizza places to order from, that's not a big deal. But if you're making a decision for your business, it is a big deal.
What we usually do is weigh up different options against each other and vaguely try to determine which one is "better". Maybe we even write them down and try to rank them.
When you try to rank a set of ideas, you're basically comparing them along a single dimension. Along one scale that goes from "bad" to "good".
The simplest way to literally level up your decision making is to add a second dimension. And that's exactly what we do with a decision matrix (or priority matrix - same thing).
How to Use a Decision Matrix
Here's an example of what a decision matrix can look like:
Here are the simple instructions for how to create your own:
- Create 2 axes and label them with the 2 dimensions you want to compare your choices on (e.g. "cost" vs. "time").
- For each idea or option, create a new "card" and place it on your decision matrix.
- Optional recommendation: arrange your axes in such a way that the best options end up in the top right corner and the worst ones in the bottom left. This makes the most intuitive sense, I've found.
Tools for Creating Decision Matrices
You can easily create these matrices using free tools only. For one thing, you can use pen and paper to sketch it out. However, I'd recommend using sticky notes for your ideas, so you can re-arrange them. Of course, this can also be done on a whiteboard.
As for digital tools, my favorite one to use is draw.io which is a free diagramming tool. I also use this to map out marketing funnels.
The tool I used in the video is Google Drawings. This is also free to use and it's a tad simpler than draw.io.
If you want to go all out, Miro is a tool with a (limited) free plan that can be used for this as well as other kinds of visual decision making and planning.
What decisions will you make, using this system? I've used decision matrices countless times and I've recommended them for specific uses in my productivity course as well as in Course Craft and in Audience from Scratch.
Do you know other decision making tools that you use frequently? Other tools you recommend? Let me know in the comments!