I’ve never been a fast decision maker. My natural tendency was to weigh up all the options before diving in. Whilst this is great in some situations, in many others it’s slow and time consuming. You might call it a bit of a problem.

Then I learnt about the two different types of decision makers… maximisers and satisfiers. And this gave me a new toolset with which to approach and speed up my decision making skills.

The maximisers outlook is to weigh up all the possible options before choosing the best one. They want to maximise the full potential of their decision.

An example could be in choosing a new tee shirt. They go to every one of their favourite stores, checking out the latest designs, and only make a purchase once they’re sure they’ve seen all the options and chosen the ‘best’ one.

Conversely, the satisfiers outlook is to approach a decision with a list of criteria. Once they find a solution that meets those criteria, they make a decision. Rather than waiting until they’ve assessed all the other possible options.

Again, using the example of a tee shirt purchase, a satisfiers outlook may be to get a plain, slim fit tee shirt for under $20. They go to their favourite stores, by the second one they find a tee shirt that meets those criteria, and they purchase it. No further time spent looking or weighing up options.

Now neither method is right or wrong, in fact they both have their uses depending on the decision.

Large decisions, such as which partner to settle down with or which family home to buy, are probably worth maximising on. However smaller decisions such as buying a laptop or choosing which restaurant to eat at, could benefit from a satisfier approach.

For me, it wasn’t until I learnt about these decision making approaches, that I could identify which I did most of (maximising), and start to transition towards satisfying on the decisions that really don’t deserve lengthy research. Time is precious, and it can be better spent on things other than small decisions.

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Posted by John Alexander

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