MAKING THOUGHTFUL decisions is a challenging, yet essential, part of making progress. It’s especially difficult to do when you’re dealing with various options and differing criteria. A simple 2x2 matrix can be a powerful instrument for establishing priorities. Specifically, placing Importance (low to high) on the x-axis and Difficulty (low to high) on the y-axis equips you to work out tensions between these opposing forces. When you plot items according to both priorities, you and your team will likely arrive at a workable resolution.
The items that land in the lower left quadrant are characterized as targeted because they are the easiest to realize. The upper left quadrant contains luxurious items—costly endeavors with little return. The items in the upper right quadrant are considered to be strategic because they require large investments to get big results. And last but not least, the items in the lower right quadrant are high-value because they yield great impact at a low price.