The Power of a Decision Matrix

Ever struggled with tough decisions? A decision matrix could be the perfect way to push you toward completion and a way to review past decisions.

The Power of a Decision Matrix on Jonathan Mills Patrick dot com
A Decision Matrix can play a powerful role in helping you push through tough decisions

It really burned. We had lost out on the opportunity to make a $330k profit in less than five years. All because we had been unable to make a decision. It wasn’t the first time either. There had been a string of decisions we had put off, each costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We had been hiding behind the idea of being conservative with our money. But, the truth was that we had reached a level of analysis paralysis that neither of us had experienced in our lives and it was going to take 5+ years for us to realize that we had experience such a season of life.

The One That Got Away

The opportunity I am talking about revolves around the chance to have taken advantage of the quickly rising prices in the housing market in our area in order to make a paper profit.

More than five years ago we had started “casually” looking to move. By “casually” I mean that we had looked online at houses practically every week. We had even gone to look at upwards of ten homes, plus making an offer on one, only to eventually decide that each house “wasn’t just right”.

We talk as a family about the home that got away. If we ever pass by that house I try to not even look at it. It is one of few regrets I have in life. Not only was the house in a great neighborhood, with an amazing layout, but it was also in a lifestyle community. Which is what we really wanted. Compound that mistake with the fact that the home is now valued at well over $350k more than it was for sale for when we looked at it.

How We Got Here

I’m going to blame it on a tough few years for our family that includes a lot of losses. Plus a lot of stress in our professional careers. All the changes (COVID anyone?) apparently pushed us into a mode where we literally could not make a decision about anything that mattered.

If It Is Good Enough For Them

Meanwhile, speaking of professional careers, I’ve been encouraging the team that I work with to develop a decision matrix for a huge project, the largest in our company’s history. I suggested it because there are a lot of decisions that are needing to be made. Plus, having a decision matrix allows you to retrospectively review where you made good decisions and where you made not so good decisions. Or, if you are like us, where you just didn’t make a decision.

So, why is it that I was smart enough to suggest the value of a decision matrix in my professional life but I didn’t think to use one in our personal lives? No clue. It is water under the bridge.

A Decision Matrix Looks Like This

I’ve shared with you the value of a Resonance Matrix before. I picture a personal Decision Matrix looking pretty similar. See down below.

The idea is that you capture high-value decisions that you need to make, when they popped up, who needs to make the decision, who the other stakeholders are, what information you need to make the decision, and any associated timelines.

Decision = Pool Membership for the Summer

Date Logged = 5/1/2022

Decision Due Date = 5/30/2022

Owner = The Mrs.

Stakeholders = Our daughter

Missing information = pricing

In the above example, my family needs to decide on a pool membership. Our neighborhood doesn’t have one and for the past 5 years we have used memberships at various country clubs for access to a pool. The problem is that I don’t think it is fiscally responsible to spend $1,500 for a social membership at a country club when we are just going to use the pool access for 2.5 months or less. Why less? Because have vacations scheduled, our daughter has camps, etc. where our time to use the pool will be limited.

What’s Missing?

From your perspective what is missing in my Decision Matrix example? One note, any information we gather associated with the decision will be logged in a separate, linked place in Notion to avoid the table from getting to unwieldy.