O'Reilly logo

Decision Quality by Jennifer Meyer, Hannah Winter, Carl Spetzler

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

7Clear Values and Tradeoffs

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.

—Ben Stein

Our goal in making decisions is to get the most of what we truly want—and what we want is a function of what we value. Luckily, it's not necessary to tackle our entire value system when making a specific decision—we simply have to answer the following question: What do we truly want in this decision situation?

While a good set of alternatives is essential for any choice, we cannot effectively compare alternatives until we've articulated what we want. “What makes this alternative more attractive than another?” That can be a difficult question to answer when:

  • Multiple wants are involved, and the alternatives present different combinations of outcomes.
  • The outcomes of the decision will be spread out over time.
  • The outcomes are uncertain.

Ultimately we need to reach clarity about which alternative we prefer and why we prefer it. This chapter explores the values and tradeoffs that make that possible.

Values and Tradeoffs for Decisions

For the purposes of this book, values are the things we care about when we make a decision. Some values can be judged directly. For example, a professional restoration specialist can estimate the monetary value he will receive from the sale of a refurbished automobile. In his profession, the sale price of automobiles gives him a direct indication of value—what it is worth to him. In other circumstances, value metrics

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required