There are many ways people can make decisions, just as there are many different outcomes that may arise as a result of the pathway you choose. A CEO may use game theory in decision making, whereas an economist may use a rational form of thinking. Doctors may use an algorithmic method based on evidence and data. A detective may use deductive reasoning to reach a conclusion.
Other approaches include systematic, hierarchal, impulsive, decisive, flexible, and integrative decision making. Integrative decision making integrates all the core assets in the ASPIRES model.
At first it might sound a little daunting to get started with integrative decision making. Even when making a relatively rash decision, you might get that frustrating feeling of weighing far too many options. A well-thought-out decision might feel like it has even more moving parts.
Not to worry. Taken into consideration one bit at a time, it's really not so bad. Determining your priorities and figuring out your best options are great uses of your time. That's how you maximize your chances of the best outcomes or maximum ROI. You know you want to go there. I can tell, because if you've read this far, you have high ASPIREationS.
One of the really helpful things about integrative decision making is that it can be used for small or big problems. Learn this method of thinking, and you pretty much have it.For every choice there are a few steps you'll want to take:
- Define the problem. What is the goal or objective that needs to be achieved? In other words, what is the target or overall purpose?
- Frame the problem. We will use the ASPIRES model as our frame. We will consider each of the core assets when making our choices.
- Develop all your options. You do this by collecting facts, data, or whatever relevant information is available. Of course your sources need to be reliable and useful, not distracting or irrelevant.
- Analyze your options. Ask yourself what the pros and cons of each option are and how it ranks in terms of your priorities. What are your chances for success or failure for each option? Also, each option should be evaluated as to whether it can be implemented realistically.
- Make the decision. Do this through the process of elimination. It is much easier to eliminate options you don't want instead of those you do. With the options left, you may need to go back to step three and gather more information.
- Execute your decision. Once it's made, commit to it and make it happen. Nothing is worse than going through a carefully thought-out process and not being able to execute it. Of course there may be some unknown obstacles along the way. However, anticipating as many potential obstacles as possible will leave you well prepared for contingencies.
- Debrief yourself. This is time set aside for reflection on and learning from your choice and subsequent outcome. Did it meet your expectations? What could you have done differently? This is called learning from ones life's experiences. This is where wisdom is typically born. It is a crucial process in self-development no matter what the outcome is.
This whole process of integrative decision making will bring you the greatest overall ROI. It factors in all aspects of your life that are important to you. While a professional adviser may be best equipped to tell you what he thinks about a certain situation, he will not understand the other aspects of your life that need to be factored in. In other words, you alone are empowered to execute your ROI.
Sanjay Jain is a US-trained Board Certified physician, with over 15 years of clinical experience. He is the author of the new book, OPTIMAL LIVING 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life (Greenleaf, February 2014). Sanjay represents a new wave of thought leadership and expertise developed not only from his medical and financial education, but also his life experiences. Follow Sanjay on Twitter at @sanjayjainmd and visit his website at SanjayJainMD.com.