Notice something about the ritual of pulling petals from a flower and saying, “she loves me, she loves me not?” There are only two choices – yes or no, one or the other. Makes decision making simple. You can force this decision making technique on yourself when you have lots of things to prioritize and are struggling in your decision making.
Decision Making Technique - Is this is greater than that?
Say you’re creating a presentation for your senior management. You have fifteen points you feel you have to make. But you know that there’s no way you’ll get to cover more than 3 of them. Here’s how you can use a forced comparison model to help in your decision making about narrowing the list:
- Write all 15 key messages on individual sticky notes and place them on a wall or desk.
- Select two messages and compare them, asking, “If I could only make one of these points, which one is more important?” Place the one you pick at the top of the wall or desk, with the other below it.
- Pick up another sticky note, asking the same question relative to the top-most sticky note. If the new sticky note is more important, it goes on top, and the others move down. If it’s not more important, keep moving down and asking the question (Is this one more important or is that one?) relative to each sticky note until it’s appropriately placed based on its importance.
When you’re done using this simple decision making technique, you will have developed a quick prioritization. It will help you avoid the decision making trap where everything seems equally important. The This>That technique works well either individually or with a group that’s trying to do decision making in a whole variety of situations. So try it, or try it not…try it! - Mike Brown