How to Make Effective Decisions Faster

Last week I gave you a tool to help your people be better decision makers.  Today I will follow that up with a tool to help you and your organization make fully informed decisions more quickly.  This is a decision making tool called the criteria method.

The criteria method can be broken down into two parts:

Absolutes: Criteria that must be met and cannot be prioritized.

Desirables: Criteria that we would like included.

For example,  let’s say that you are trying to choose the most effective way to increase referrals for your business.  You have already gotten together with your team and brainstormed 30 different options.  Instead of going over the pros and cons of 30 different items with your team, you would like to find a way to decrease the list so that you can come to them with something like three to four options.  This would be a perfect time to use the criteria method.

Let’s say that our Absolutes here are: it must be free, it must be something that we are not already doing company wide, and it has to be something that every sales person can do because we want to implement it across the company.  Our Desirables are: it has already been proven to work in our industry and it must be able to be implemented within three months.

We can now go through the list and delete all options that do not meet the Absolutes.  Because if it does not meet all of the “must have” criteria than we know it will not work.  This will usually get rid of a large portion of the list.  Then we can go through and mark how many of the “would like to have” criteria each remaining option has and keep the top three to four that have the most Desirables.  As an added bonus, you could weight the Desirables to help you break it down even further.  Maybe it is far more important to you that the new referral process has already been proven to work than that you can implement it within three months.  So you could give every option that is proven three points, and every option that is implementable within three months one point.  The more Desirables you have the more this is going to make a difference.

What this process does for you is take out personal feelings from a decision.  If your team agrees on the Absolutes, then they have to agree that a suggestion that does not meet the absolutes can not be considered.  Now everyone is judging the options on how well they will solve the challenge instead of if it is their option or not.  This one simple tool can get a team (or individual) focused on outcomes and solutions, instead of politics or gossip.

If you are interested in other ways to increase your team’s performance and your own, get in contact with me.  You can call me at 515.724.3163 or email me at Ryan dot Lynch at Dale Carnegie dot com.

~Ryan Lynch