The Adaptive Agency Blog

Faster Decisions Made Easy

by | Jan 24, 2024 | Strategy

Thinking deeply about your business is hard.

That’s partly because you’re too close to it. And because you’ve been doing the same things for a long time. Not to mention, deep thoughts are usually abstract, not concrete.

But you can cut through a lot of mental noise with a simple tool: quadrants.

What Are Quadrants?

A quadrant is like a graph. It has an X and X axis. But it’s simpler because the graph is broken into 4 squares. Something like this:

It’s easy to get to a rough answer when using quadrants. You can do the fine-tuning later.

Here are a few examples of how you can do some quick, back-of-the-napkin thinking by using quadrants.


Example 1: “Which lead source should we focus on?”

For this analysis, I’m going to look at two criteria: affordability and revenue generated.

Let’s look at how this played out.

Source 1: No.

  • These leads are expensive.
  • AND they’re not generating revenue.

Analysis: Never call one of these leads again.

Source 6: Yes.

  • Fairly inexpensive.
  • Convert to revenue really well.

Analysis: Buy as many of these leads as I we can.

Source 4: Strong Maybe.

  • These premium leads are really expensive.
  • But they tend to convert well and premiums are high.

Analysis: If I have a strong closer, I’ll have them work these leads when they have time.

Source 5: Weak Maybe.

  • These leads are SUPER CHEAP.
  • But they aren’t converting to revenue.

Analysis: If there’s time left over, put my weakest salesperson on these leads.

Sources 2 and 3: Maybe.

  • These are reasonably affordable
  • They close ok.

Analysis: Have my mid-level salesperson work these leads. And my top salesperson when there’s leftover time.

Final Analysis:


Example 2: “Which candidate should I hire?”

For this analysis, we’ll use skill and culture fit.

Quick Analysis:

  • Candidate 1 is an obvious no-go. Low skill and bad fit.
  • Candidate 2 is tempting. Really good skills, but not a great fit.
  • Candidate 3 is also tempting. Needs some training but awesome fit for our team.

Decision: Go with Candidate 3, since we can train the skills and we don’t want to risk damaging our team culture.


Some other examples:

Maybe you have a lot of projects you’re dreaming of. Which ones should you work on?

You could break it down in lots of different ways. For example:

  • Feasibility and Long-Term Value.
  • Quick Turnaround and Team Enthusiasm.
  • Compliance and Business Benefits

Or maybe you want to assess your marketing tactics. How about:

  • Cost and Benefit.

Or better yet:

  • Market Share Growth and Long-Term Profitability.

Or even better:

  • Tactical Gains and Strategic Gains.


The quadrants aren’t a magic ball. They’re a thinking tool. The better you can define your criteria, the better they’ll help you narrow down your options. Give it a try and let me know what cool use cases you’ve come up with.