In 1985, Intel was debating whether to stay in the memory business or to invest entirely in the microprocessor business. They were losing market share in the memory business very quickly to Japanese companies and Japanese technology was known to be superior.
When Intel’s Japanese executives confirmed that Japanese technology was far superior to their own, their worst fears were confirmed. However, the memory business was still contributing to revenues and there was a big internal debate of whether to keep memory or not.
One day, amidst all the debate, CEO Andy Grove asked his team – “If a new CEO walked in today, what would he do?” The answer was obvious to all – “Kill memory.” So, they decided to go to their customers with the announcements. The typical reaction? “Well it sure took you guys long.”
And thus, a huge debate around an important decision (that ended up being absolutely right) was answered by just looking for another perspective and asking – “What would a new person who walked into this situation do?”
Next time you’re fearful about a decision, get a dose of perspective. Ask, “What would my successor do?” Or for a personal decision, “What would I advise my best friend to do?” You’ll be astonished at how easily a quick dose of detachment can help you rise above short-term emotion. – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Source and thanks to: Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath