Safe to try - Decision Making Approach

The problem with decisions is that we are afraid of consequences that, in most cases, are either unclear or not real. Asking this one question will get you unstuck: Is it safe to try?

“Safe to try” is a powerful heuristic that can dramatically accelerate a team’s decision making. It’s about considering whether the decision is something you can live with for a period of time in order to learn something new. Generally, unless a decision is going to cause irreparable harm, it’s probably worth giving it a try.

Principles for safe-to-try:

  • Everything is an experiment
    We just need to try something out for long enough to learn what worked and what didn’t.

  • Consent is not consensus
    In a consent-based system, you’re not trying to please everyone.

  • Progress is always better than perfection
    Trying to get things “right” is a common obsession in business, and it’s not serving us.

Safe-to-try decisions are not perfect,; but they drive action. To evaluate if a proposal should be accepted or rejected, consider the following:

  • Will the decision move the team backward?
  • Will the proposal cause harm which cannot be mitigated promptly?

Source 1: What does "safe to try" actually mean?
Source 2: Safe-to-Try: A Way of Making Tough Decisions

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