The 10 10 10 Rule For Better Decision Making

March 11, 2021   |    minute read

10-10-10 rule for better decision making

If you are like a lot of people, it can often be difficult to weigh up different options, make decisions and choices about things.

It can be easy to either:

  • get overwhelmed
  • overthink and stuck in a state of paralysis
  • make a bad decision.

Or a combination of all three!

Fortunately, there is a very simple and quick tool you can use that is very effective when under stress or duress. It will help avoid making decisions and choices that are bad in the longer term, even if they do bring you some immediate relief. It works great in business or your personal life, small or large decisions.

It’s a tool called the 10-10-10 rule and was developed by Suzy Welch, there’s a book by that same title – check it out.


Here’s a simplified version of the 10 10 10 Rule for decision making

When you have a choice or decision to make, reflect on the consequences in 10 minutes time, 10 months and 10 years.

Normally, when making decisions under stress we just consider the immediate (10 minutes) impact, and we don’t consider the long term consequences. With the 10-10-10 Rule, you consider the immediate, mid and long-term consequences.

For bigger decisions, rather than just doing it in your head,  draw a simple chart like the one in the image, and then write down the choice or decision you are considering and reflect on the ramifications in the immediate future, the mid-term and long-term and score them using a smiley, neutral or frowning face!

10-10-10 rule for decision making also known as 10 10 10 rule Suzy Welch

Step 1

Write in the consideration column the thought or decision you are facing.

Step 2

In the 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years column, put a smiley, neutral or frown face representing how you expect to feel at those times reflecting back on your decision. (This is where the name 10 10 10 rule comes from!)

Step 3

Do this for both the “if I proceed with…” and the “if I don’t proceed with…” rows.


It may be simple, yet it’s remarkably effective.



The 10-10-10 Rule in Use

You have some key decisions to make about what is the best way forward.

There are two things that you are considering:

  1. pivoting and offering something new and different in your business
  2. taking the time now to work on your business, do some of that foundational work that you’ve never quite had time to get round to, such as understanding your ideal clients better so that you can massively improve your messaging, your website, your offer and all the other marketing activities that you do ready for when we come out of this.


Option 1:

You want to bring some revenue in quick and cashflow is tight, here’s how to use the 10 10 10 Rule for decision making. You enjoy sewing, you have a sewing machine and you are considering making and selling face masks, especially as it appears that more and more governments are or are going to be recommending the use of face masks as they ease lockdowns.

  • In the immediate future, this could be a great way to pivot and would bring in a new revenue stream.
  • In the mid-term, say 10 months time, this most likely won’t be such a great opportunity as the need for these will either have lessened, or businesses that can produce these at scale will also have pivoted to this offering.
  • In the long-term – this will have long passed, and will be a distant memory


Option 2:

To use this time and really knuckle down and do some of the work “on” your business that you have always put off.

  • In the immediate future, it’s not going to bring any short-term relief, but you can get by.
  • In the mid-term, say 10 months time, you will most-likely have restarted trading, only now you have a much stronger marketing message and business is booming.
  • In the long-term – you have built upon this work and business has gone strength to strength.


When you look at both options with all three perspectives (10 10 10 rule) in mind, it becomes much easier to make a more thoughtful and considered decision, instead of deciding under duress when you are only thinking of the immediate future.

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