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How to Decide

How to Decide

What to do when you can't decide

When you are faced with a decision to make, here is the best way to approach it:

  1. State the decision in form of a 'yes or no' question.
  2. List all the reasons for; then all the reasons against.
  3. Keep asking 'What else?'
  4. Always add additional lines to stimulate the mind.
  5. Decide a weighting system that gives enough flexibility.
  6. Be honest and objective.
  7. Add up the numbers and the decision is made.

1. State the decision in form of a 'yes or no' question.

The first step is to reduce the decision to a single line question, which may be answered with a simple Yes or No.

Wording the initial question is the vital step to making a good decision.

Ensure the question is worded in a balanced manner.

Be sure that you do NOT imply a bias in the way you word the question. For example:

Should we destroy our future by doing X or should secure our future by NOT doing X? Is a biased question.

A non-biased version would be: Should we Do-X or Not-Do-X?

2. List all the reasons for and all the reasons against.

List all the reasons for and against the decision.

Ensure that you do not repeat the same point, simply by rewording a single reason in many ways. For example:

I should buy a bigger car, because I need a bigger boot space.

I should buy a bigger car, because I don't want to struggle with carrying my luggage.

3. Keep asking 'What else?'

Keep listing all the reasons for affirming the decision, until your brain runs dry of reasons, or you end up repeating yourself.

4. Always add additional lines to stimulate the mind.

Keep adding unfilled spaces to your list to stimulate your mind to think of more ideas.

5. Decide a weighting system that gives enough flexibility.

We suggest you score all the reasons out of 100.

  • 100 means maximum importance.
  • 001 means minimum importance.

Score out of 100 every reason FOR X; then every reason for NOT X.

6. Be honest and objective.

Don't cheat yourself by skewing your scores to fit a predetermined opinion, that you had in the back of your mind, before you started the analysis.

7. Add up the numbers and the decision is made.

When you have weighted each reason for both sides of the decision, add up the totals and the decision is made.

Decision Maker App

Our free Decision Maker App will guide you through the above process and help make you make your decision.

I want to decide right now, take me to the Decision Maker App!

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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