What is the Foursquare Protocol? Foursquare Protocol In A Nutshell

The Foursquare Protocol is an ethical decision-making model. The Foursquare Protocol helps businesses respond to challenging situations by making decisions according to a code of ethics. It can also be used to help individuals make decisions in the context of their own moral principles. It consists of four steps: gather the facts, understand previous decisions, assess the degree of similarity to past events, and assess yourself.

Understanding the Foursquare Protocol

Decision making is arduous at the best of times, but decisions that raise ethical issues can be particularly challenging.

While legislation can help guide decisions relating to discrimination and conflicts of interest, the law only covers so much. In many business scenarios, an understanding of how to behave ethically is vital. 

An oil company guided by the law alone would seek to drill in countries with weak legislation to maximize profits. A similar company guided by ethics, on the other hand, would consider the impact of drilling on the environment and the local community.

The four steps of the Foursquare Protocol

The Foursquare Protocol involves four different steps. Only once each step has been completed should a decision be made.

The four steps are:

Step 1 – Gather the facts

Separating evidence from opinion is critical. Evidence can be directly observed or obtained from conversation or research. Foursquare Protocol creator Stephen Goldman notes that the quality of the final decision depends on the quality and breadth of the facts gathered.

Step 2 – Understand previous decisions

How were similar situations resolved in the past? What was the nature of penalties or punishments? The latter question is important because it ensures that the business acts fairly. It also ensures that decisions are consistent with previous company actions or similar companies in the relevant industry.

Step 3 – Assess the degree of similarity to past events

With the list of previous actions, assess the degree to which they are like the current event. Here, it’s important to note the significance of being able to make distinctions between past and previous events. 

Some distinctions will be insignificant, while others are more critical. The ability to discern between the two makes a skilled ethical decision-maker. A company may identify that the legalization of recreational marijuana is a critical distinction that will force them to review their drug policy. 

Step 4 – Assess yourself

After assessing the facts, it is time to make a situation. Three factors must be considered before doing so:

  1. Any self-interest that may hinder your ability to decide. A common form of self-interest occurs when the decision-maker stands to benefit financially from a course of action. An individual who reprimands a subordinate that is also their friend is also compromised.
  2. Consider a role-reversal. How would you feel if you were on the receiving end of your own decision? This gives the decision-maker the necessary empathy to make an ethical decision not based on personal gain.
  3. Instinct and intuition. What is your get telling you to do? While logic is an important part of ethical decision making, so too is emotion. A HR manager faced with the task of mass terminations may have their gut tell them that it is unethical to fire those with the most experience.

Key takeaways:

  • The Foursquare Protocol is a model that helps businesses make decisions based on ethics.
  • The Foursquare Protocol advocates that a four-step process be followed before a final decision is made. The process has a focus on fact gathering and comparative analysis of previous, similar events.
  • The Foursquare Protocol recognizes that logic combined with instinct, intuition, and empathy results in the most robust ethical decision making.

Connected Business Frameworks

Andy Grove, helped Intel become among the most valuable companies by 1997. In his years at Intel, he conceived a management and goal-setting system, called OKR, standing for “objectives and key results.” Venture capitalist and early investor in Google, John Doerr, systematized in the book “Measure What Matters.”
A north star metric (NSM) is any metric a company focuses on to achieve growth. A north star metric is usually a key component of an effective growth hacking strategy, as it simplifies the whole strategy, making it simpler to execute at high speed. Usually, when picking up a North Start Metric, it’s critical to avoid vanity metrics (those who do not really impact the business) and instead find a metric that really matters for the business growth.
A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company. To find comparables you can look at two key profiles: the business and financial profile. From the comparable company analysis it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.
Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.
The lean startup canvas is an adaptation by Ash Maurya of the business model canvas by Alexander Osterwalder, which adds a layer that focuses on problems, solutions, key metrics, unfair advantage based, and a unique value proposition. Thus, starting from mastering the problem rather than the solution.
A context diagram is a model illustrating the interaction between a product and external people, organizations, or systems. The context diagram is used by business analysts to understand the context and boundaries of the systems within a project. The structural elements of a context diagram comprise the product, external entities, and data flows.
The STAR method is an interview technique that is used to answer behavioral interview questions. The STAR method is a technique that an interviewee can use to help prepare for behavioral or situational interview questions that assess important skills. STAR is an acronym comprised of four factors that make the question answering framework: situation, task, action, and result.

Read Next: Business AnalysisCompetitor Analysis, Continuous InnovationAgile MethodologyLean StartupBusiness Model InnovationProject Management.

Main Free Guides:

Scroll to Top