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Establish Priorities

Establishing priorities for decision making is the fourth step in the decision making process. We are going to continue here first with some more excerpts from the book The Art of DECISION MAKING: 7 Steps to Achieving More Effective Results, by John D. Arnold...

  1. What are your absolute requirements?
  2. Rank your desirable objectives from 10 (maximum importance) to 1

"…the last critical step in the sorting-out process: establishing Priorities among our Criteria" (64).

Make a list of absolute requirements. Then make a list of desirable objectives.

"In arriving at our absolute requirements, we examined the entire list and asked ourselves, "Which Criteria are so important that no Solution is acceptable unless it meets all of them?"" (67).

"Our next step.. was to rank the desirables. (Obviously, there's no need to rank the absolutes, since each is by definition essential)… The first step is to establish the Criterion or Criteria you value at 10, or maximum importance. Then assign values to lesser Criteria that reflect their importance in relation to 10" (68).


"If you're buying a small television set for your mobile camper, you may consider the size and price important. But if your power source is 12 volts, you won't achieve your Purpose (finding the best television set for your camper) with a 120-volt set, no matter how many added features it boasts" (70-71).

[This is a major reason to read Consumer Reports or a similar source which tests such items.]

"Absolute requirements frequently contain numbers. If you're deciding on a vacation trip, don't content yourself with stating "the trip shouldn't cost too much." Put a ceiling on the amount of money you can afford to spend. By quantifying whenever you can, you'll create a more useful yardstick to measure possible Solutions" (71).

"You may find.. that certain Criteria are contradictory. If top auto management demands both good gas mileage and passenger safety, the auto engineers may have to make a tradeoff… You too may have to accept reasonable compromises" (72).

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