Decision Making Tree
The great American founding father, Benjamin Franklin, made famous his personal method for how to make difficult decisions. Today we refer to it as the Ben Franklin Decision making tree. If ever you are faced with a difficult decision, use this method. It will make the decision making process alot easier to get through. People who typically struggle making any kind of decisions usually find this method to be a real life saver. Using these steps will assist you in clarifying your thinking and your decision making. Once you have clarified your decision and then committed to that decision with a written plan of action, then following that through to completion should be much easier.
Basic Ben Franklin
Take a piece of paper and at the top, title it the decision to be made. For example, "Choosing a Product to Sell."
Next draw a line down the middle of the paper, so you have two columns - one on the left and one on the right. At the top of the left column label it "Pros" and the column on the left label "Cons." Now, list the positive things about this decision under "Pros."
List the negatives under "Cons." After you have exhausted reasons for both columns, you should have a better idea where you stand regarding this decision.
So, what do you do now? See which side has the most reasons. The preponderance of one side over the other should tell you which way to go, though this is not always the case. Nevertheless, by making the list, you should find you have a clearer understanding of the dynamics of the decision and can make it with new clarity.
Advanced Decision Making
If you are still unclear about what to do after making your Ben Franklin "Pros" and "Cons" lists, do the following.
1. Go back over your Pros and Cons and give each reason a number between one(1) and five(5). The more important a reason is in your mind, the higher the number. For instance, the most important reasons would be weighted "5, and "the least important "1."
2. After weighing all the reasons in both columns, add the numbers for the "Pros" and the numbers for the "Cons." Compare which has the greater number. The greater number should be the decision to go with.
3. Finally, write a summary of what you have learned (use your journal). This should assist you in clarifying and distilling your thoughts and feelings about the matter.
4. For each option you have, do the above steps: total of pros and cons, weighing each pro and con, adding the weighted numbers for a total and write a summary.
5. Next, review each summary. Give each summary a score from 1 to 5 (1 being low and 5 being high). Whichever summary comes out with the highest number, that should be your choice.
6. Now, write your justification explaining to yourself why you are choosing this option over all the others. The pros you listed for this option should be part of this justification. Any significant cons you might have for these options should be accounted for, explaining how you will deal with them should they arise.
7. If you are still unsure, make it a matter of prayer, and then sleep on it. Then with a fresh mind, review your decision making process and make a decision. Remember, you are going for the best answer, not the “perfect answer.” There is no perfect answer.
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