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10-10-10 Rule

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Decision making text with a clock
10-10-10 Rule

“Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Did you know the 10-10-10 rule?

Whether personal or professional, our decisions have consequences in the short, medium, and long term. Our decision-making process before we make a choice is highly critical. Often times, factors such as stress and heightened emotions can affect our decision-making process negatively.

The 10-10-10 Rule (by Suzy Welch) can be used for every type of decision making. It helps us to visualize the outcome, the possibilities, opportunities, and possible consequences. The rule is simple.

Whenever you need to make an important decision, you just ask the following questions:
1. “How will I feel about this decision in 10 minutes?”
2. “How will I feel about this decision in 10 months?”
3. “How will I feel about this decision in 10 years?”

Asking these questions and thinking about the answers changes the perspective, brings clarity, and balances the effect of emotions while we are working on our decision.

Suppose there is a person at the workplace you were friends with before. Because of a conflict, you decided to avoid communication with that person.

10 minutes from now, you will still be avoiding that person because of the wave of negative emotions related with that conflict. You will have a short-term relief that you can forget what happened and continue your life as if nothing has happened. (Or you might choose to have a conversation with the person to talk about the conflict. What if there is a misunderstanding?)

10 months from now, you will be still carrying the negative emotions related with the unresolved conflict. This issue can affect the way you approach work related issues when you are in a meeting where he/she is involved. Unresolved conflict can affect your performance when you are working with that person in the same project. (If you have chosen to solve the conflict, you might have left all things behind because it was a misunderstanding, and you had the chance to work together.)

10 years from now, either you regret you have avoided the person and not solved the problem, or you celebrate that you resolved the conflict and moved on. In 10 years, the unresolved conflict may deteriorate your relationships with others in the company and may affect your business outcomes negatively. You might lose chances of promotion or leadership roles. The other possibility is that in 10 years, because of the initial choice of solving a conflict, you are known to care about interpersonal relationships and are a role model for others.

You see how it works, right! Try this, you will experience significant changes in the way you approach problems and make decisions that can affect your future.

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