Startup Advisor and Mentor Yaniv Assas Shares his Seven Tips for a Better Decision Making Process

When you’re running a startup, important decisions are constantly being made but the process of making them tends to be hectic. From conflicting timelines to having to consult with your team for their thoughts, a decision can take days, if not weeks to be made. Labs mentor and startup advisor Yaniv Assas held a programming session to give his seven tips to make the decision-making process more seamless and less stressful.

Tip #1: Make micro-decisions before making big decisions

Before committing to any decision, big or small, try to make smaller decisions that fit into the bigger picture. This way, while you aren’t making a concrete decision, you’re taking steps towards one. The goal is to try to make yourself comfortable enough to make a decision by going through all of your options first. For example, if you have a less than stellar employee, consider having a one-on-one conversation about improvements they can make instead of firing them.

Assas recommends this strategy based on a human behavior condition called the “status quo effect,” which is a bias for leaving things unchanged.  “At the end of the day, our decision making is based on our habits—and habits are hard to change,” he says. “Our nature is to be passive because any decisions we make could be met with resistance, and we don't want to take any chances. So how do we handle this status quo effect? By making micro-decisions, micro-actions, baby steps.”

Tip #2: Create a risk assessment

It’s important to weigh the risks you might be taking when making any decision. “One of the big challenges, when we make decisions, is fear. Why fear? Because we took a risk. Three of the major variables of decision making are perception, assessment, and risk. But remember that the risk is not only yours. The users and customers of our products take risks when they buy or use your product,” Assas says.

For example, if you decide to change the user interface of your app, you might alienate some of your customers. With that in mind, remember that any decision you make is likely going to affect your customers.

Three questions you should be asking yourself to form your risk assessment are:

1. Am I willing to take the risk?

2. Will this risk create a real opportunity?

3. Do I want to or should I take this risk now?

Tip #3: Consider your mood

When trying to make decisions, you should consider the mood you’re in and whether or not it will affect the choices you make. If you’re in a bad mood, it may be a good idea to try to put a pause on any decision making. On the other hand, don’t let a good mood allow you to make a decision you otherwise wouldn’t make.

Tip #4: Determine the urgency level of the decision at hand

When you’re weighing a decision, consider how urgent it is for you to make it and within what timeline. “You want to make sure that you're making decisions that are more important than other decisions first, and that you’re making them in order. For example, if you're making a decision to launch a new product, that obviously comes before anything else,” Assa says. Once you know the urgency level of each decision on your plate, you can prioritize them accordingly.

Tip #5: Collect data based on human behavior for product decisions

If you need to make decisions about a specific product rather than a situation, try to collect data based on human behavior to help inform your decision. “If you collect data that you can’t link, don't use it,” Assas says.

For example, if you have a tech product and you find that customers are not clicking the “buy” button, try running a test with the button in a different position on the page. Using the data you receive from this test, you can make a better-informed decision that is backed by data.

Tip #6: Try to avoid using pro’s and con’s lists

It’s human nature to consider the negatives in any given situation before the positives, so Assas recommends trying to avoid making a “pro’s and con’s” list because it could lead you to give the negatives more weight than they deserve. However, if you feel strongly about using this common decision-making tool, “be careful not to list the bad things about a decision before the good,” Assas says.  

Tip #7: Open your mind to creativity

Finally, being open to creative solutions may help you in the long run. “Open your mind to creative solutions, because creativity can make you a decision-maker. Go to galleries, see French movies. Be willing to open your mind to new challenges, and new thoughts,” Assas says.

Read more about leadership and personal development.

This post is based on content from a WeWork Labs programming session.

Interested in connecting directly with this mentor? Ask your Labs Manager for help.

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