two doors

There are some choices that simply have too many unknowns to make a completely rational and informed decision. You may never have enough data, so in the end, you just need to do what you think is best. However, there are ways to utilize the collective experience of your team to help you identify potential outcomes, giving you a better chance at selecting the optimal option for your company.

Use this exercise when you’re facing a tough decision for your marketing, sales or overall business.

1. Break down the decision you’re trying to make into two potential scenarios. Example: Should we either drastically reduce our prices to increase market share OR focus on a niche market and customize our offering to appeal directly to them?

2. Gather two groups of your staff. Try to mix up their various positions equally.

3. Assign a scenario for each group and explain to them: “We’re faced with a challenging decision. If we take one door, it will lead us one way. If we take the other, it could lead us into a far different direction. We need your help in determining which path is right, based on your experience.”

4. Have them imagine that it’s 5 years from now and the company has selected the respective options they were assigned.

5. Ask them the following set of questions on two large whiteboards separately.

  • How large is the company now?
  • What kind of customers do we have?
  • Are they satisfied with our product/service? Do they love it?
  • What are we posting on social media?
  • What are people saying about us on social media?
  • Describe our advertising.
  • How do our employees feel about the company?
  • What does the competitive landscape look like?
  • A major change in your industry happened 2 years ago. What was it and what did we do about it?
  • A business publication recently published an article about the company. What did it say?

6. After they’re done, discuss the options collectively to gain more insight to help you make your ultimate decision.