I am often comfortable with my decisions but I research other methods of making them, to see if there is something I could incorporate to improve my process. I found a few books in the subjects of financial planning, personal well-being, and self-help that suggest a table with varying set ups. I will present a combination of techniques and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
Percent Quarter Value Comparison Table
The percent value comparison table can be used for a decision with 2 choices. The table requires you to input your goals or values and decide the relationship of the choice’s impact on each goal.
To demonstrate; you create 3 columns and they can go in order of choice 1 – goal – choice 2, or goal – choice 1 – choice 2. Next, determine whether each choice respectively either provides a clear benefit over the other choice, a similar or unnoticeable difference of impact, or whether the choice has the superior desired impact over the other choice. You then award the choice a value of 0.75 to the choice that is better than the other which gets a 0.25, a 1 to a choice when it is superior to another which receives a 0. If neither has a more distinguishable impact you award both a 0.5.
Example Goal 1 = Save for a Car; choice 1 is save your Tax refund and choice 2 is buy a 4k Curved Television.
Advantages of This Method
The advantage of this method, includes management, it’s straight forward approach, and its summation opportunity. Identify multiple considerations, goals, solutions, or values in a table with a calculation that allows both choices to share a value of one. Take multiple considerations and simply decide the relationship of your choices to the consideration between 3 possible answers; whether one is far superior, just the better of the two or whether each has a similar impact to the consideration. At the end, you can use the summation method to find which answer or choice respects the most of your considerations.
Improvements for this Method
Possible improvements for this method include a representation of a hierarchy between the considerations or significant values for which the 2 choice’s impact are receive measure. There are 2 approaches to establish a representation of a hierarchy the first being, a summation of the number of values and the second being a arbitrary percentage value system.
The summation of the number of values weight includes taking the number of choices, giving each choice a number to represent it’s value (using the number of choices giving the highest number to the more important choice) and dividing that by the sum of the number of choices.
28 is the sum of the number of choices ( 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 = 28) when you divide the number given to each value by 28, you get a percentage called the Choice’s Weight. The “Choice 1” column uses the standard quarter method to compare the impact of the choice on a respective goal or value (0.25 vs 0.75, 0.5 vs 0.5, or 1 vs 0). The “Choice 1 Weighted” takes the quarter value multiplies it by the percentage so it does not impact more than more important values, but still more, than less important values.
The arbitrary percentage value method is the last resort but allows you to establish specific values with a weight to represent similar importance. The user has to determine a percentage to each goal or value that is arbitrary. Like you see in the table the “Choice 1 weighted” now uses the arbitrary values on the left 0.25 being used twice meaning 2 goals of high and equal importance and 5 goals of lower but exactly similar importance. This could be supplemented with further calculations as you see at the bottom where 4 levels of importance are determined and each receives a value which all add up to equal one (although the difference in the values is very close).
Limits of the Methods
The main limit to this method include the restriction to two choices, with some utility still being present between an even number of choices but with more complexity and ineffectiveness beyond 2 choices or 2 impacting forces to your considerations. Although the summation of the number of choices method allows one to establish a hierarchy of values it forces that none of your values are of equal importance (assumes one value is always either of greater or lesser importance of the other). The Arbitrary Percentage value method requires arbitrary values which could make you feel more accurate in your value assignment or less accurate, with also the increase of possibility in errors.
How the Method Works
The method relies on quarter values of 1. Because either choosing one of three answers, the choices get one value that represents their impact on one consideration, in series; you can create a sum to see which choice has more desired impacts than the other. The weight methods can help when some every value is either more or less important than the other, or the user has a clear idea of how to disperse the percentages to show levels of importance with either one or multiple values being of that importance.
Good luck to all making a decision in the near future out there, I encourage using the method to measure past decisions first and deciding whether the method works, or provides insight for you before using it on anything important. Please let me know in the comments of what you think about the decision making method, or whether you found a similar method that I can review. Thank you for reading.