A cartesian plain with Consequence along the X axis and Permanence along the Y axis. Type 1 decisions are high Consequence and high Permanence. Type 2 decisions are low Consequence and low Permanence. Between the extremes is a gradual change.

Musing for:

Decision making for hyper-analytical people (like me)

A famous framework may actually make decisions harder for hyper-analytical folks like me.

In 2015, Jeff Bezos described a “Type 1 vs. Type 2” framework for making decisions in his Letter to Shareholders.

If you missed it, here’s a summary:

👉 Some decisions are consequential decisions that can’t be reversed. Bezos explained that these ”must be made methodically, carefully, slowly, with great deliberation and consultation.”
These are Type 1 decisions

👉 Most decisions aren’t that way. If you don’t like how it turns out, you can change your mind.
These are Type 2 decisions.

Bezos shared that companies get in trouble when they start treating all decisions the same.

Hyper-analytical people like me can be guilty of treating all decisions as Type 1, impeding progress and frustrating those who are waiting for action. Others may treat all decisions as Type 2, causing early, permanent, and fatal damage when they get important choices wrong.

But how does one categorize whether something is a Type 1 or a Type 2? The severity of consequences and the permanence of a decision are not binary, yes/no, all/nothing options. On this question, Bezos was silent.

The meta decision “Is this a Type 1 or Type 2?” can itself feel consequential and permanent. If it’s a Type 1 and I get it wrong, I can’t change my mind and it just might be disastrous! A hyper-analytical mind like mine can simply see this as yet another crucial decision that must be made with great caution.

But really, there aren’t only two fixed types of decisions.

Any time you need to decide something, you can choose how much time you’re willing to take. And how much risk you’ll accept.

You can choose how many people to consult, and who they are.

So don’t feel that you have to make “the right choice” on whether something is a Type 1 or Type 2 decision.

For more consequential or permanent decisions, lean toward being more rigorous.

For more insignificant or reversible decisions, lean toward a more decisive approach.

And don’t feel you have to assign a number between 0 and 10 and run it through a mathematical formula and plot a point on a chart to make a decision. Take advantage of your intuition while honoring your personal tolerance for risk.

In other words. trust your gut. Seriously.

If you can change your mind on a decision without sacrificing your core values, then classifying that decision as Type 1 or Type 2 doesn’t need to be hard.

Make a choice, and move forward. Then get on with making your decision.

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