Make wise decisions

Miscellaneous Mello22 August 7, 2016 0 0
Everyone must sometimes make complex decisions, both at work and private situations. The number of choices here is often large and diverse and this makes choosing even more difficult. Rely on intuition is a way, but for important decisions are risky, because you see at that moment a factor overlooked. There are several methods to assist you in making a decision. In this article I will discuss one method.

Components in deciding

In making the best decision comes into play a lot. Especially when the issues are complex. Often seen things overlooked. The problems can be viewed from different perspectives, the goals we want to reach are complementary to each other, or the options all have the same advantages and disadvantages. To make sensible complex decisions, a structured approach is recommended. Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa describe in their book "Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions" a practical guide to make better decisions. They call five components that must be observed in order to come to a wise decision:
  • The problem
  • The goals
  • The options
  • The consequences
  • The considerations

  • First of all, the problem must be properly mapped. This forms the basis for the next steps. It must then be determined what will be achieved with the decision, in other words what the goals are. Then the options are to how the goals can be achieved are devised. After that, each option assessed on its consequences for the achievement of the targets. The options can each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some objectives will be achieved with an option, but others do not. That leads to the final component. A choice must be made between the different objectives by assigning a value to the goals. The decider thus indicate which goals he / she finds the most important to achieve.

    An example

    1. The problem:
    What is the best holiday destination for me this year?
    2. The objectives:
    My vacation must meet the following requirements:
    • it should not be too expensive
    • it should be nice weather sunny but not too hot
    • I would rather that it is not too touristy
    • there should be enough to see culture
    • there must be also done plenty of nature activities

    3. The options:
    There are the following possible holiday destinations:
    • a cultural holiday to Athens
    • a survival holidays in the Ardennes
    • a tour of the nature of Norway
    • a city break to Paris
    • a tour of Morocco

    Table of goals and options:
    4. The consequences:
    Now I have to think of the consequences if I choose certain options.
    NB. Some options have implications with overriding disadvantages than others.
    • In Athens it is extremely hot in summer and there are fires.
    • The Ardennes are very close. In the cultural field is little to do.
    • Paris is very touristy.
    The other options also have consequences but are less negative, so I'd probably choose one of those options.
    5. The trade-offs:
    I opt for a tour of the nature of Norway. Norway is not as touristy, has a beautiful nature with lots to do. It is reasonably weather and in that it is close to the Netherlands, it is also not too expensive. Morocco does have a beautiful culture and nature and is not very touristy, but is a bit on the warm side and also a flight costs more than by car and boat to Norway.


    The above method is feasible for everyone, both for private situations at work. There are no complicated mathematical formulas needed. At the University of Helsinki also worked on software for making decisions using the above method. More information can be found at decisionarium and smart swaps