November 17: One-way and Two-way Doors

Some decisions are changeable and reversible, while others are consequential and nearly irreversible.

Source: AMZN 2015 Letter to shareholders
Published: April 2016

One-way and Two-way Doors

One-way doors: decisions that are consequential and nearly irreversible; should be made methodically, carefully, slowly, with great deliberation and consultation.

‍Two-way doors: decisions that are changeable and reversible; should be made quickly by high judgment individuals or small groups. If you’ve made a suboptimal decision, you can reopen the door and go back through.

“As organizations get larger, there seems to be a tendency to use the heavy-weight [one-way door] decision-making process on most decisions, including many [two-way door] decisions. The end result of this is slowness, unthoughtful risk aversion, failure to experiment sufficiently, and consequently diminished invention. We’ll have to figure out how to fight that tendency.”

-Jeff Bezos


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