Making Decisions with Multiple Choices
In Part 1 of Decision Making Made Easy, I introduced you to the PMI tool (Plus/Minus/Interesting) for making a decision between two choices. In Part 2 of Decision Making Made Easy, I will show you how to use a Decision Grid Tool for making decisions when you have multiple choices with multiple factors to consider. This Decision Grid Tool can also be used for decisions where you only have two choices. I offer this tool as a free excel spreadsheet download.
Click here to download the Decision Grid Tool. (Free safe excel spreadsheet)
Steps to Use the Decision Grid Tool
1. Go to Tab called “Decision Grid” in the excel spreadsheet. If you want a smaller version go to the last tab called “Decision Grid Small.”
2. Type in Your “Decision Options” along the left hand column shaded in yellow. Example: Vacation destinations.
3. Type in your “Decision Factors” along the top row shaded in green. See example below.
4. If you need more columns (Factors) or more rows (Options) then use the tab called “Decision Grid Simple” which doesn’t have automatic calculations.
5. Score each Decision Option on each Decision Factor using a scale of 0(poor) to 3(best). It’s ok if some Decision Options score the same number on any particular Decision Factor. See below. For example, for the “Fun” factor, three of the decision options scored a “3.”
6. Decide and type in the relative weighting or importance of each factor. You can use any scale you want, but a scale of 1 (least important)-5 (most important) is a good one to choose. Again some factors may have the same weighting. See example below.
7. Multiply each score (in pink shaded column) by the corresponding weighting (blue shaded area) for that factor. Type the answer for each into the white shaded column next to the pink column. See example below:
8. Total the Weighted scores across into the “Total” column. (shaded in yellow) If you are using the “Decision Grid” the totals will automatically calculate for you. The highest score is the winning decision. In example below, the winner is “Caribbean Resort.”
Non-Rational Decision Making
Is “Carribean Resort” really the winner? At this stage you may be feeling “No, but I really want to go to Scotland” which actually came in 3rd place. That’s completely fine! You either misjudged your weightings or scores, or there may be a factor not accounted for in your grid, which in this example might be “Place I’ve always wanted to visit!” I have always found that doing the rational part helps me with eliciting the non-rational feelings on a decision. My best decisions have always included using both this rational approach and then using my gut (non-rational) to seal the decision.
Please share a recent decision an how you made it! All comments big and small are very welcomed!
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