Suzy Welch – Making Better Decisions with the 10-10-10 Technique

Suzy Welch, a best-selling author and business journalist gave an interesting keynote on self-leadership at Nordic Business Forum in 2013. We felt that the technique she introduced could be helpful to so many especially today, which is why we wanted to go back to her presentation. Here, you can find the basics of her idea: the 10-10-10 decision-making tool.

The 10-10-10 Decision-making Technique

“A lot of people think that life is actually series of events that happens to us. Those people have a reactive mindset. Those with an ownership mindset think that life is a series of decisions we make and the events happen because of the decisions we have made.”

From that perspective, making good decisions is an essential life skill. After having struggled with decision-making and wanting to have it all at the same time, Welch came up with this 10-10-10 technique. “Now I consider with every decision, what are the consequences in 10 minutes, in 10 months, and in 10 years. I put every decision in this frame.”

So, she thinks about what is the decision she is actually making and what are the options. Then she goes through this 10-10-10 frame to really consider the consequences of that decision.

Welch told that she first kept this tool to herself, but when working for Oprah Winfrey’s magazine ‘O’, she eventually ended up writing about work-life balance and shared this tool she invented. “Little did I know that this idea would come to help a lot of people. It sort of started a small movement of people adopting this.”

Connecting Decision-making with Your Values

Once numerous people had found the technique useful, Welch was faced with the same question over and over again: why does it work so well? “Because it forces you, if you are using it right, to come to terms with what really matters to you.” The key to adopting this tool successfully is to first figure out your values, and then considering the 10-10-10 technique when making decisions.

And how do you know your personal values? Welch advises you to use these three questions to get closer to your values:

  1. Fast forward to your 75th birthday. What would make you cry from regret?
  2. What do you want people to say about you when you are not in the room? What do you want to be known for?
  3. What did you love about and what did you hate about your childhood?

“If you’re living by your values, you are living an authentic life. And authenticity equals happiness.”

So, first, get aligned with your personal values, and then start to consider your decision-making through the lens of the 10-10-10 technique.

Below, you can find a clip from Welch’s speech:


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