The two sheets A and B shown below are the latest version of my system for the resolution of complex problems which appear from time to time in our daily lives.

We are all familiar with those kinds of problems which appear at first glance to be insoluble – perhaps you have a mixture of subjective and objective criteria which are difficult to compare. Similarly, some criteria are of a quantifiable nature which need to be directly compared with others of a non-quantifiable nature. This system does not fully eliminate these issues but breaks them down to manageable sizes or character which reduces their proportional influence on the whole problem.

The additional value of this system is its holistic nature – it compares every criterion with every other criteria so that it satisfies you that you have covered every aspect – at the end you get a feeling that you have thoroughly considered every possible influence and couldn’t really have done a better job.

I have used this process many times in my life on such problems as buying a block of land, buying a new car or a house – anything which is of a substantial nature or cost that could produce many unacceptable consequences if you make the wrong choice.

It can be a bit laborious if you have more than about 20 criteria but the effort is proportional to the size of the problem.

Column 6 is the really interesting part – there are 3 sub-columns A,B and C which represent your short list of likely answers. (You can have more than 3 of course). Follow through with actions 7 and 8 which enable you to bring the cost factor into play to produce your final answer.

However, remember the associated computer phrase – “Garbage in = garbage out” which really means take great care in selecting your criteria so that that they are clear, unambiguous and each is about one aspect only. You will see what I mean if you have a small trial run before seriously tackling the lot.

It will challenge your values but is great fun and the answer may surprise you.

It is well worth the effort and you will learn a lot.