Marcy Swenson
Helping founders grow as fast as their companies

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Insights to help you thrive.


The 6 Decision-Making Frameworks That Help Startup Leaders Tackle Tough Calls

The framework I collaborated on with Gil Shlarsky, VP Engineering at Flatiron, is included in First Round’s overview of best frameworks; affectionately called “Xanax for decision-making”.

When it comes to the choices we make, most of us like to think we’ve made the “best” decision. And while the everyday decisions (what to eat for breakfast, whether to read this article) don’t sap much mental energy, the choices that we encounter at scaling startups are often far more weighty: Deliberation on whether or not to raise a new round, or which new product feature to add to the roadmap, is intensified by a high-pressure environment with no safety net. Where good decisions can accelerate your company’s growth and foster trust among teams, bad decisions can endanger the bottom line and injure morale, sometimes irreversibly.

The dilemma, of course, is that high-stakes decisions are seldom so clearly cut. On a team, it’s difficult to get consensus on what the “best” option even means; with an excess of choices, leaders can fall into the paralysis of indecision, wasting precious time and opportunities. How do you make a choice that optimizes for both speed and sagacity? Should you place more weight on data, or go with your gut? How do you reconcile viewpoints among smart, strong-willed operators, without fanning the flames of conflict?

In search of insight, we pored through advice from seasoned leaders who’ve tackled the most challenging decisions in scaling startups and large companies alike. A common theme arose: The art of decision-making isn’t always about capturing some elusive “best” decision — it’s about making the most of information available, garnering trust across stakeholders and executing with conviction….

Click here to read the full article and learn the 6 time-tested tools gathered by FirstRound

Marcy Swenson