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A Summary of

This Matrix Helps Growing Teams Make Great Decisions

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First Round Review
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Gil Shklarski walks through the matrix he adapted to enable his increasingly autonomous and fragmented team to keep moving fast and smart through tough choices.

Xanax for Decision Making

  • As you scale, one team becomes many, and each team needs to make decisions independently. 
    • Leadership capacity is diminished if teams can’t commit. 
  • On successful teams, members feel psychologically safe.
  • Shklarski saw the framework from his coach as a tool for his team leads to…
    • quickly and efficiently create alignment around decision-making
    • foster a level of psychological safety that would take fear, self-consciousness and anxiety out of the process.

The Matrix

  • Two types of decisions: irreversible and reversible
    • Shklarski’s goal was to optimize for reversible decisions
  • It starts with a basic chart
    • 2+ options you’re deciding between at the top. 
    • Benefits, costs, and uniquely mitigations down the left-hand column. 
  • Leaders should encourage everyone to ideate and include the social considerations/ramifications of each option.
    • Contributes to psychological safety

The Matrix in Practice

  • Shklarski applied this framework to help Flatiron’s engineering team make a contentious decision. 
    • Should they have more descriptive job titles signifying seniority or not? 
  • Using the framework, Flatiron decided to refactor and improve the software in place.

Making the Matrix a Cultural Touchstone

  • Since adapting this matrix to help teams make decisions together, Flatiron has used it in making other decisions. 
  • There were several keys to making its implementation at Flatiron effective:
    • Senior sponsorship 
    • In-person training with managers
    • Expand its scope outside of tech
    • Understand the limitations
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