A Brief or Very Brief Introduction to Choosing By Advantages (3 Hours or 1 Hour)

The three-hour version of this workshop ("A Brief Introduction to Choosing By Advantages") introduces and briefly explains four basic sound-decisionmaking principles, called the cornerstone principles of sound decisionmaking:

The one-hour version of this workshop ("A Very Brief Introduction to Choosing By Advantages") focuses on the second cornerstone principle — the fundamental rule of sound decisionmaking. It also presents three CBA methods that the participants can begin using, right away: The Simplified Two-List Method, Instant CBA, and The Recognition-Response Process.

The three-hour version adds a fourth CBA method: The Two-List Method. In both versions, using the canoe decision as an example, the participants learn the definitions of two key sound-decisionmaking words, as follows:

Each version of this workshop is an awareness session, not a training session.


Choosing By Advantages: The Cornerstone Principles of Sound Decisionmaking (1 Day)

This workshop presents, in detail, the cornerstone principles of sound decisionmaking, which are briefly presented in A Brief Introduction to Choosing By Advantages, described above. It also presents several CBA (sound) methods of decisionmaking. It helps the participants recognize the most-critical differences between sound and unsound methods, so they can make informed decisions about how to make decisions.

What might be more important is that this workshop provides to the participants (for their personal, family, and business decisions) a vital set of sound-decisionmaking skills. (We believe that everyone in today's complex, rapidly changing, modern society needs these basic CBA skills — along with reading, writing, addition, subtraction, and other basic skills.) For complex, controversial, or difficult decisions, this workshop qualifies each participant to serve — under the guidance of a CBA facilitator — as a member of a CBA decisionmaking team.

A train-the-trainer program is available for this one-day workshop.

This workshop emphasizes the Principle of Anchoring: Decisions must be anchored to the relevant facts. This principle, we believe, is the most important of all the principles of sound decisionmaking. It answers the first vital sound-decisionmaking question, as follows: Question: How can we consistently make sound decisions? Answer: We must anchor our decisions to the relevant facts.

On the surface, the meaning of this principle seems obvious. But unfortunately — as demonstrated by surveys of hundreds of adults — very few (fewer than one percent) adequately understand this principle. As a result, most of the decisionmaking methods in common use today violate this principle. Bad outcomes that are being caused by violations of this principle are all around us. They range from minor inconveniences, interpersonal conflicts, and business failures to the worst possible outcomes, including hate crimes, genocides, and wars.

Before presenting the principle of anchoring, this workshop presents the Fundamental Rule of Sound Decisionmaking: Decisions must be based on the importance of advantages. (If a decision method doesn’t base decisions on the importance of advantages, it doesn’t qualify as a sound method.) This rule answers the second vital question, as follows: Question: How can we anchor our decisions to the relevant facts? Answer: We must base our decisions on the importance of advantages.

This workshop also presents additional principles of sound decisionmaking, definitions of the key words in the sound-decisionmaking vocabulary, and several methods of Choosing By Advantages. (CBA methods have been developed for virtually all types of decisions — from the simplest to the most complex.) 


Choosing By Advantages: Sound Decisionmaking (3 Days)

Those who are members of leadership teams, and many others, need more sound-decisionmaking training than can be provided in a one-day workshop. If they are simply team members, rather than team leaders, they can begin their CBA training with this three-day workshop — instead of the one-day workshop. But for those who are leaders, those who will become leaders, and those who are prospective CBA facilitators, both the one-day workshop (followed by practice, with feedback from a CBA facilitator or a CBA instructor) and the three-day workshop (also followed by practice, with feedback) are recommended.

During the first two days of this workshop, the participants review, and learn more details about, most of the sound-decisionmaking definitions, principles, and methods that are presented in the one-day workshop. They also learn additional definitions, principles, models, and methods of sound decisionmaking. During the third day, building on what they learned during the first two days, they learn the basic sound-decisionmaking principles and methods for money decisionmaking. (Obviously, anyone who makes decisions that involve significant amounts of money needs to attend this workshop.)

Participants learn how to select the best from a set of alternatives, how to set priorities and properly allocate funds among activities and project proposals, and how to allocate funds among sub-units in organizations. They also learn how to recognize and avoid common decisionmaking errors. Methods are presented for simple, minute-to-minute decisions, as well as for complex decisions. These methods are for individuals, groups, families, business and government organizations, and communities. They are for everyone who participates in the decisionmaking process. They are particularly valuable for members of leadership teams and self-managed work teams.

The following CBA (sound) methods are presented in this workshop:

    Special Methods for Money Decisions
    Additional Special Methods for Complex and Very Complex Decisions

    The Tabular Method
    The Two-List Method
    The Simplified Tabular Method
    The Simplified Two-List Method
    Instant CBA

    The Recognition-Response Process
    Additional Very Simple Methods for Very Simple Decisions

As in practically all fields of study, learning CBA is a journey, not a one-time event. However, it’s a much shorter journey, compared with most fields of study. For engineers, architects, economists, physicians, executives and leaders in organizations, CBA facilitators, and other professional decisionmakers, the one-day sound decisionmaking workshop is designed to be the first major event in their journey. For them, we recommend the following skill-learning process:

  1. Attend the one-day sound-decisionmaking workshop.
  2. Begin practicing and using CBA, immediately, for personal, family, and business decisions.  Also, if a CBA facilitator is available, practice using CBA, under the guidance of a CBA facilitator, for at least one moderately complex decision.
  3. Attend the three-day sound-decisionmaking workshop. Also, highly recommended for all professional decisionmakers: Study The Choosing By Advantages Decisionmaking System, by Jim Suhr. This book is available from Quorum Books, an imprint of the Greenwood Publishing Group (1-800-225-5800).
  4. Practice and use CBA for the types of decisions that are illustrated in the three-day workshop. (The sound methods for most types of the decisions where uncertainty and risk are not major issues are presented in the three-day sound decisionmaking workshop. Basic methods for dealing with uncertainty and risk are presented in the congruent decisionmaking workshop, described below.)
  5. Attend additional CBA workshops, as follows: 


Choosing By Advantages: Congruent Decisionmaking (3 Days)

Building on what they learned in the sound-decisionmaking workshops, the participants in this workshop increase their knowledge about how to become high-performance individuals, groups, and organizations. The congruent-decisionmaking model presented in this workshop — the framework model of the CBA system — has been validated by independent studies in virtually every culture and every age group throughout the world.

The participants learn how to apply the congruent-decisionmaking model in their personal lives and in their organizations. They learn how to accurately estimate and correctly use activity and project durations, resource requirements, and funding requirements; how to accomplish their highest-priority activities and projects on schedule; how to unify their work, workforce, and financial decisions; how to unify their long-range, mid-range, and short-range decisions; how to unify their beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and decisions; and how to unify their decisions and actions. Also, they learn the basic concepts of how to deal with uncertainty and risk.

Prerequisite: Choosing By Advantages: Sound Decisionmaking.  


Choosing By Advantages: Effective Decisionmaking (3 Days)

Facilitating the CBA process is the primary focus of this workshop. It includes the following topics:

This workshop demonstrates how to unify the Harvard Negotiation Procedure and the CBA Process to create an effective, interactive decisionmaking process. This is a beneficial set of skills for everyone; and it’s an essential set for CBA facilitators.

Selected communication skills and advanced principles of sound and congruent decisionmaking are additional examples of topics included, if time is available. (This workshop does not provide basic meeting-management skills, but it does recommend reading materials for acquiring these skills.)

The interactive CBA process enables decision participants with differing viewpoints to work together as a team and to reach a sound, congruent decision they can mutually support. Participants learn how to build positive, supportive relationships among those who are involved in the decisionmaking process; how to base decisions on interests rather than positions; how to best meet the needs of the stakeholders — including those affected by the decision and those interested in the decision; how to collectively base decisions on the importance of advantages; and how to maintain integrity throughout the process.

For many, their metaphor of the decisionmaking process is a sports activity, such as a football game, where there are competing teams. In that metaphor, the participants choose up sides (take positions) and try to win the game. In the “win-win” version of this metaphor, there are no losers; but in the real world that’s often unachievable. Also, the name “win-win” implies that there are two sides. In contrast, the CBA metaphor is a concert by a professional symphony orchestra, under the guidance of a servant leader. In this metaphor, all the participants — including the leader ─ are on the same team; and decisionmaking is an artistic performance, rather than a power struggle.

Prerequisites: The required prerequisite is Choosing By Advantages: Sound Decisionmaking. Recommended, but not required, is Choosing By Advantages: Congruent Decisionmaking.

For more information about recommended prerequisites — which include both training and practice — contact Decision Innovations.  


A Practical Application of the CBA Process

Under the guidance of a CBA Instructor, the participants review at least the basic CBA concepts and methods, by applying CBA to make a major real-world decision. Advanced concepts and methods are also presented, as necessary for the application. The duration of the workshop depends on the complexity of the application.

Prerequisite: Choosing By Advantages: the Cornerstone Principles of Sound Decisionmaking (1 Day) or Choosing By Advantages: Sound Decisionmaking (3 Days), depending on the complexity of the application. In addition, where applicable, Choosing By Advantages: Congruent Decisionmaking and/or Choosing By Advantages: Effective Decisionmaking are recommended as prerequisites.