Have you ever had to make a big decision and got caught between a rock and a hard place? Are you trusting your instincts? Is it difficult for you to detail why you are making the decision?
Have you ever heard of a ‘Weighted Decision Matrix (WDM)’? A WDM breaks down an important decision that must be made into smaller chunks of independent criteria that you specify. It really simplifies a big decision into smaller pieces that you can evaluate each criterion, and then get an overall decision based on each of the smaller pieces. It really is a useful way to make important decisions; especially when they are not well defined.
I have used this WDM to determine if it was really worth moving to another country; moving to Australia from New Zealand. It was such a difficult decision to make at the time that we used this method to help us make the final decision. This method independently proved that it was the correct decision.
Here’s how to do it: using the moving country, for example, to make the decision.
1. List all the criteria you value most in life; such as –
• Access to housing
• Access to schools
• Employment opportunities
• Cost of living
• Close friends
• Anything else you think is important to you and your family.
2. The next thing you need to do is write a number between 1 and 5 next to each of these values that you just wrote. The number 1-5 corresponds to how much the criterion values, with 5 being the one that values it the most. Family example: 5. You value family as much as possible. Money – 2. Rate money only a 2 on a scale of 5.
3. The next thing to do is list the current situation and the decision that needs to be made. Example –
Stay in the US / New Zealand
Moving to Australia
4. For each decision (whether you stay where you are or whether you move), you must specify whether or not the values you have chosen (money, etc.) are met. The scale here is 0-3. IF the value you specified is fully met, then I would give it a 3. Say, moving to Australia the monetary value was completely satisfied, you would rate it a 3. If it was not, then you could rate it 0 or 1, for example . .)
5. Once you have rated each of your specified values / options, such as money / lifestyle, based on each decision to be made (staying in the US or moving to Australia, for example), then multiply the value score by criteria score.
6. Add up the total in each column for what you just did above and you have a winner.
7. This is a very basic example and you need to improve the options using many more, such as access to schools, retirement, and so on.