Sorting Out Your Decisions Before You Make Them

On Sorting Decisions

Every one of us makes numerous decisions every day. Our decisions can be sorted in many ways.

Here are a few examples –

  • Scale of Decision: Many of our decisions are small. Some of our decisions are larger with more serious consequences. Some decisions trigger strong and challenging emotional responses. Some decisions involve massive risks involving money, reputation, relationships, etc.
  • Impact on Goals: Other decisions involve trade-offs between goals. Often these decisions pit short-term rewards against long-term rewards.
  • Differing Perspectives: Most decisions incorporate thoughts about past and present data and forecasts of future outcomes.


This is just a sampling of the ways you can sort decisions before you make them. If you take the time, and it will take a surprisingly large amount of time, to analyze the decisions you make in a 24-hour day then you will discover the wide variety of decisions you make. If you do understand the way you make decisions then you will be able to consider the ‘nature’ of your decisions and you will be able to categorize your decisions by their ‘nature’ and confirm the frequency of each major type of decision.

Sorting decisions by ‘nature’ will bring context, patterns, and trend considerations into your decision-making process. This will allow you to improve your decision-making effectiveness and efficiency.

You may not perform decision sorting at this time.

Perhaps, you will buy into sorting your decisions into two types/natures: easytough decisions? This simple sorting will be a very good first step toward understanding then planning the types of decisions you face regularly.

You will either try to establish methods for sorting your decisions or you will follow your past habits and proceed to making the decision as you have always done. 

Regardless of how or whether you sort your decisions, you will make them. You will make decisions on your own or with help from others.

On Making Decisions

There are numerous ways to make decisions.

Decisions can happen instantly, generated by unconscious responses or emotional waves or intuition.

Decisions can be crafted by masters and orchestrated by maestros.

There are many ways to make decisions. Brian Tracy recommended a simple 3-method approach:

  • (Individual) Command Decisions – where the decision maker, alone, makes the decision,
  • Consultative Decisions – where the decision maker seeks advice from others then, alone, makes the decision, and
  • Consensus Decisions – where the decision is made by a group of people who commit to a shared decision and the actions required under the decision.


Consultative and consensus decisions involve trade-offs, as examples:

  • time spent on the decision,
  • value of information used to make the decision, and
  • level of buy-in or commitment to the decision.


As psychologists and judges will confirm:

  • the reason behind decisions is important,
  • the decision outcome is important, and
  • the procedure or ‘method’ used to create the decision is important…especially if you want people to “buy-in”.


Sorting Decisions by ‘Nature’ and ‘Method’

Simple tools exist to help people think through and sort out their decisions – examples include Pareto’s Principle [80/20 Rule], Covey’s Time Management Matrix and Berne’s Transactional Analysis. Much time and effort can be saved by using these simple 1-page tools to sort out the best ways to make decisions. Also, these tools can be used to reduce decision-making conflicts and increase decision buy-in. It is a good idea to have a number of these tools in your decision-making toolkit. You can use them to set your personal decision-making rules and you can use them to communicate with others on your decision-making teams.

One Way to Sort and Make Decisions

Here is a starter tool you and your decision-makers can use to create a picture of the way you sort decisions by ‘nature’ and ‘method’

Learn more about decision making



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