What can businesses learn from a dating app?

First, a quick disclaimer for the record: Because of my marital status, I have never used a dating app and have no plans to do so in the future. For this column, however, I did do some quick research on the genesis of the now widely used term, “Swipe right, Swipe left,” to communicate if one likes something or someone (right) or wants to convey a thumbs-down (left).

The popular online dating app Tinder created this method for those searching for love in all the right or sometimes even wrong places. Suppose one person likes the profile and photo of the second party. In that case, a finger swipe right over the picture shown on the smartphone or tablet can move a potential connection to the next plateau. Conversely, a screen finger gesture left means that it’s sayonara. This is a bilateral process. It takes both participants to ignite a spark (moving in the same direction to the right) to signify a “match.” But if either party does nothing, the screen “times out” and fades to black, much like with the dreaded little spinning wheel symbol on your device when everything stops.”

Here’s the business lesson takeaway from Tinder: Too many organizations don’t have an effective way to keep moving forward by deciding to go right or left. Even worse, many choose timing out as a default substitute for a yes or no, creating a state of limbo until forgotten by all.

The better solution to maintaining momentum and furthering the decision-making process is to create two lists. The first is a compilation of must-dos, either because there is no choice or because the payoff for the effort is very favorable. The second document outlines those possible undertakings to improve what is already in place or new initiatives worth exploring.

The next step is to send the two documents to all involved for study on their electronic devices. Then, each must vote yea or nay by swiping in the direction to match their choice. A notation next to each item would indicate the deadline when choices must be submitted. Additional comments may be included should the voter want to amplify on a subject.

After counting the likes and dislikes, the final decisions become the basis for a go- or no-go for each undertaking. Sometimes it’s more appropriate to convene a short meeting for a final debate. Still, at least it’s known that decisions will likely be made following the session. One of the biggest motivation deflators is when an organization can’t decide which direction to swipe.

Abdicating the responsibility of making a choice is equivalent to a computer’s black screen, which becomes a metaphor for inertia that wastes a company’s most coveted assets of time, energy and resources.

Making business determinations is much akin to the process used on dating apps. It starts with exploration, followed by research, and finally, making a decision. Both in love and business, it is better to go either right or left than never to have swiped at all.

Visit Michael Feuer’s website www.TipsFromTheTop.info to learn more about his columns, watch videos and purchase his books, “The Benevolent Dictator” and “Tips From The Top.”