STRATEGY

How to Pick Between Two Logical Options

Making a decision with imperfect information is a challenge. The rule of the one-way street might be the tie breaker you're looking for.
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Ever find your team debating a decision in which there are two very different yet justifiable solutions to a given problem?  We all have.

Very often these are the most contentious and most complicated decisions simply because despite rigorous review and research there just isn't a clear answer.  With no right or wrong, smart people seem to line up behind one set of rational conclusions or another, sometimes pitching battles that can last for weeks or even months without a victor.

In most organizations these are the moments when the CEO is supposed to intervene and make the final decision.  While that can get you to a conclusion, the CEO may not know which path to take.  So, what should the CEO do? Flip a coin?

Whether the debate surrounds a pricing strategy or feature set, very often the only way to find the right answer is through trial-and-error.  Pick a strategy, try it in the market and then re-evaluate if necessary.  It's an ugly system, but in many of these cases it's the only way to figure out what to do.

So if that's the case, which path should the CEO try first?  The answer might lie in the rule of the one-way street.  It's pretty simple.  Identify which strategy it would be easier to abandon and start with that first. If it's easier to switch from strategy A to B (then vice versa), then start with strategy A.  If you're unsure about which price point, start higher—your customers will be more forgiving of a price break in the future than if you start low and need to increase.

You're not going to make every decision perfectly without market reactions, so always do your best to give yourself room to correct.  This mindset should help you unravel some of the most complicated decisions on the horizon.

Last updated: Jan 23, 2012




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