I discovered this amazing tool for making decision many years ago while getting my MBA at the University of Southern California. The class was called Operations Management which was a class that I was not excited about being an Entrepreneurial Studies student. While the class was boring, this tool has become one of the most valuable tools I ever learned. I modified the tool slightly and gave it a cool name (the Ultimate Decision-Making Tool) and now want to share it with you. Not only am I going to show you how to use this tool, but I am going to make the tool available to you for FREE!
I have found one thing that keeps people from taking action in their lives is the inability to make a decision. We are so worried about making the wrong decision that instead we just put off many any decision at all. And my not taking action, we end up not moving our lives forward towards whatever we are trying to create.
That all comes to and end NOW. The Ultimate Decision-Making Tool is an easy to use, mathematical approach to making decisions that focuses you on making a logical decision rather than an emotional one. The tool uses a set of criteria that you create based on what is important to you and then asks you to evaluate each option of the decision against the criteria.
If this sounds a bit confusing, not to worry because I am going to walk you step by step through the process. First off, lets download the tool from my website. Just click on the button below. You will get both the tool along with some samples already completed so you can see how it works.
Step 1: Determine what decision you want to make – This can be any decision (personal or professional) that you are struggling with or one you think you know the answer to but just want confirmation you are making right choice. The tool also works with yes / no decisions or go / no go decision too. Here are some examples:
- Which business should I start? – List alternatives
- Should I go back to college? – Yes or No
- Should I fire this employee? – Yes or No
- What should I invest in to grow my business? – List of alternatives
Step 2: Determine the possible decision scenarios – Based on this decision, what are the different scenarios you want to measure? These can be a list of action or alternatives for your decision. Remember this can also be as simple as Yes / No or Go or No Go. For example, let’s say you are trying to grow your business. Should I?
- Expand my existing product line
- Open a new channel of distribution
- Build a new website
- Invest significantly in marketing
- Add to my existing sales team
- Status quo
Step 3: Define the decision-making criteria – This is where you determine how you are going to evaluate the different scenarios. Ask yourself, “what are the possible outcomes that I would like to have if this decision was a success?” For our earlier example about growing a business, here are some criteria:
- Generate the most revenue
- Quick time to revenue
- Increase company value
- Easy to implement
- Important to existing
- Low investment needed
Important tip: Your criteria all need to be pointing the same direction. Meaning either state ALL the criteria in either the positive or the negative (ideally the positive). You don’t want a high score to be good for one criterion and bad for another. Otherwise you will not get the right answer. I hope that makes sense.
Step 4: Weight each criterion – Based on the decision you are trying to make, how important or valuable is each criterion to you? I suggest using a scale from 1 to 10.
Step 5: Score each decision scenario – Now it is time to score each of the decision scenarios each one of the criterions. Ask yourself, “For this decision scenario, how important or valuable is each one of the criterions?” I suggest using a scale from 1 to 10. The good thing is the tool does all the math for you.
Step 6: Analyze the results – And like magic, the tool provides a ranking of each decision scenarios. Ask yourself…
- Which scenario has the highest score?
- Is the scenario with the highest score in alignment with what your gut tells you?
- Is there an alternative scenario that might make more sense for you to pursue?
- What insights can you draw from the ranking?
One of the things I like about this tool it produces a list of scenarios in order of importance (based on your criteria). If the scenario with the highest score does not resonate with you, maybe the second scenario does. The tool also might tell you which decision(s) to take off of your list. Even if you get nothing more than that, it would have been worth the exercise.
Whether you are completely stuck and not sure which direction to take or you just want to confirm a decision that you think you already know the answer to, I encourage you to give this tool a try. Trust me it really does work.
If you have any questions about the tool, please feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Optimizing Your Entrepreneurial Brain Series
This is part of a series of posts that provide entrepreneurs with real world lessons learned to help them be more effective at running and growing their businesses.