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Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills by Michael Kallet

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32 Criteria

Without Criteria, Nothing Is Decided

Criteria are conditions that, if met, lead to a decision of yea—and if not met, the decision is nay or deferred to a later time. Suppose you concluded to buy a television because your existing one no longer works and needs to be replaced. Your family need is that everyone in your household likes to watch television—at least occasionally—so you consider this item essential to family entertainment. Your personal need is that your family will drive you crazy if you don't replace the television.

Let's say you are the decision maker in this scenario, and you've set a date to replace the television within three days from now. Off you go to the store. Do you buy just any television? Price probably comes into play, and perhaps financing. Other criteria might be size, picture quality, and perhaps number of plug-ins and other features, such as USB, HDMI, RGB, wireless, Internet readiness, and an internal alarm clock. You have your features checklist, and if you find a television meeting those criteria, then you'll buy it. If you walk into the store without criteria, you'll spend far longer evaluating televisions. You may not consciously make a list, but eventually, you will have criteria for purchasing. If you do a little critical thinking and understand the purchase criteria, you'll decide much more quickly.

Although it's not frequently written down anywhere, decision makers in business use the same process. Let's say you were asked to streamline ...

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