For Impact


Decisions within a Decision

Funding | | Nick Fellers

Making a change…
Making a commitment…

These are just decisions.

But people often don’t realize there are usually two (or more) parts to the decision. There is the decision itself:

  • “I will invest in this organization…”
  • “We need to let this person go…”

Then there is the decision about the mechanics: how much, when, etc.

Steve Elder — one of our Senior Partners — will often invoke this concept when counseling me around an important business decision: “It sounds like you’ve already made the decision, now you’re just deciding when…”

This is really simple and powerful. Too often we go back and revisit the decision-making process —
simply because we’ve not figured out mechanics. Thinking of decisions-within-a-decision helps to clarify commitment to the broad decision.

This has application to the sales / philanthropic process. At times, it might make sense to simply focus on getting a prospect ‘in’. Example, “Look, I know this is a big ask and a big decision. We don’t have to finalize a number today. What we really have to do is get your commitment that you’re ‘in’.”