How to make effective trade-offs

 

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Every important decision inevitably involves a trade-off. Knowing what you can’t pursue is as valuable as articulating what you will. But how do you know which trade-offs are acceptable and which are losing propositions?

Here are three ways to help make the distinction:

Get input on pros and cons. List advantages and disadvantages and ask others for their perspective on which carries the heaviest weight.

Balance short term with long term. Determine what you’d be willing to give up in the long run for some important short-term gain — and vice versa.

Gauge support. While weighing alternatives, think about who will support a particular idea and who will oppose it. Ask whose support you can live without, and whose backing and buy-in you absolutely need.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from the Harvard ManageMentor module “Strategic Thinking.”

To check out the module and join the discussion, please click here.


 

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