Making decisive recommendations

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Most of us have heard of the famous 6-page memos in Amazon. 

Every decision apparently needs to be backed by a 6-page memo, as per the urban legend. 

Most big FMCG companies insist on at least a 1-2 page rationale for most decisions. 

However, you may not have the luxury of time or resources to make such elaborate documents at your startup. 

Not when you have to make multiple decisions during the day to keep the business running. 

But as a marketing manager, you will still be expected to back up your recommendations with some logic. 

How do you reconcile the scarcity of time and the need for rigorous thinking while making recommendations on the fly?

One solution is to phrase your recommendation to your boss in the RRRR framework:

Recommendation: “Hey, I think we should do [insert your recommended action]”

Rationale: “I think its a good idea because [insert reasons why you think its a good idea]”

Note: The rationale may not always be foolproof, especially if you are planning to test out things. Even so, mention why you want to test it. Is the competition doing it? Did you see it in a blogpost somewhere? Did you hear it from a friend? 

Reward: “ The upside, if it works, is [insert the advantages]”

Risk: “Of course, there are [Risk 1] [Risk 2] some risks. But I think the downside is minimal.”

This presentation gives a quick overall picture to your boss and helps him/her come to a quick decision. 

This approach is very useful when you have to run multiple experiments / make several decisions during the day. 

Of course, for really big decisions with significant potential downsides, properly documented recommendations followed by focused discussions will be needed. 

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