5 Types Of Decision Making

5 Types of Decision Making

How to make a decision is simple, but actually keeping your decision-making process simple is not easy.  Decisions are made every day.  Some decisions are big decisions, some are small. Some decisions will change the trajectory of your day, while others will change the trajectory of your life. With so many decisions to make, how do we make sure we’re making the right decision?

Decision Making

Decision Making

I’ll never forget the day I truly made the decision that I was going to ask my now wife Kyah to marry me.  I was in the library of the University of Tennessee on the phone with a jewelry salesperson from San Francisco and she told me “once you put this deposit down, it is non-refundable”, so needless to say I was a little nervous.  But I made the decision, I put the deposit down on a ring, and from that point forward there was no looking back.   I was going to marry Kyah!   Now 7 years later, we have a beautiful baby girl named Haven and life is good.  But what if I had not made that decision?  Life would be much different.

The media have programmed all of us to make decisions.  If we don’t take the time to make logical or principle-based decisions, we all will fall into the decision-making process other people want us to follow.

Are you making an impulsive or emotional decision, or are you making logical principle-based decisions.

Sun Sui says in his book The Art of War that one of the most important things someone needs to master to be an effective decision maker in battle is to “know thyself”.   If you know your values, have written down goals and understand the principles in which you believe, then making quick and decisive decisions should be easy.  However, if you don’t have goals, don’t understand what your values are and don’t live a principle-based life, then you will be easily persuaded and will continue making emotional and impulsive decisions the rest of your life.


There are 5 different ways someone can make a decision:

  1. Impulsive Decision Making
  2. Emotional Decision Making
  3. Group-Think Decision Making
  4. Logical Decision Making
  5. Principle-Based Decision Making


Impulsive Decision Making:

According to researchers at UC Berkley, people make decisions based on the first option they see.  For example, if they are looking for a pack of gum, they will simply just pick the first one they see.  Hopefully when we are making big decisions, impulsiveness is not how we are making our decisions.  If I had made a spontaneous decision about who to marry based on the first girl I was attracted to, I would have married my childhood girlfriend Amy who I haven’t seen in 25 years.


Emotional Decision Making:

Humans are creatures of emotions.  We love drama, action, a love story and cheering for the underdog.  A new science was developed back in the 1950’s called Nauru-Associative Programming that changed the way all marketers in the world viewed marketing.  Through NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) or NAP (Neuro-Associative Programming) marketers and the media figured out how to control us using both impulse buying and emotional decision making together.  In using NLP and NAP, you first show the consumer something that makes them emotional and feeling good – it could be a couple on a beach, a fun-loving puppy dog, a famous athlete, or the most popular is an attractive female.  Next, you flash your product or logo after emotionally charging the consumer.  Then, you finish the commercial with the good feeling emotional distracter.  The first company to use NLP in a commercial was Pepsi in the 1990’s.  Pepsi paid Michael Jackson a large sum of money to simply do the moonwalk across the stage for its commercial.  What’s even more ironic is that Michael Jackson couldn’t even drink Pepsi or anything caffeinated for religious reasons, or even be seen holding the product!  Pepsi didn’t care.  The marketers knew that all they needed was his image of doing the moonwalk and then flash the logo of Pepsi and their sales would increase.  And increase they did.  After that commercial, Pepsi’s sales skyrocketed, helping them go from 15% to over a 30% market share in a matter of a few months!

We don’t realize it, but we are programmed to make decisions every single day with NAP.


Group-Think Decision Making:

Think of the last time you made a decision to do something or buy something simply from the fact that someone you know made a similar decision.  I’m willing to bet it was at least several times in the last month, if not in the last 24 hours!

Group Think actually has its advantages.  It takes much less effort to make a decision based off someone else versus having to actually do the research and think for ourselves!

Group Think can also be dangerous.  For example, a survey was done testing if people would help someone on a crowded street who seemed to be severely injured.  When there were more than ten other people around the individual in need of help the odds of someone stopping to help decreased significantly. When asked why they didn’t stop to help, they replied, “I thought someone else was going to stop and help.”  Yikes!  That’s scary!

The media uses Group Think all the time!  Pay attention to the Presidential elections.  The media always tries to sway America on who to vote for by showing popularity polls and forecast of who’s going to win.  They want to paralyze people into just going with their opinion instead of actually doing the research on their own and making a logical or principle-based decision.   After all, why should we vote for someone who the media says is going to lose anyway?


Logical Decision Making:

Logical Decision Making is a good thing to do.  It helps make sure you’re not making a mistake and probably most the time a logical decision is a right decision.

The problem with Logical Decision Making is it takes way too long.  People who make a majority of their decisions based on a Logical Decision Making process often miss great opportunities, due to over-analyzing the facts, gathering opinions, looking into the history of what they are making a decision about and calculating into the future the consequences versus benefits of making the decision.


Principle-Based Decision Making:

People will let you down, but you can count on true principles.  Here is an easy way to understand what your principles are.  On a sheet of paper make a list of the top 10 things you believe to be true about life.  For example, if you truly believe it’s important to live a life that is debt free and you know that you can get caught up abusing credit and credit cards, then write down this principle for yourself, “if you cannot pay cash for something, you don’t buy it.”  On the other side of that, you might be someone who manages money well, understand how to leverage money, and you’re not stressed by the thought of using your credit to make more money when you manage it well.  You might write down a principle that says, “I let my money work for me, and I make decisions that maximize each opportunity.”  Regardless of your principles, as long as you have them written down and solidified in your mind, then you can make decisions with peace of mind.


Being a quick and decisive decision maker can help you advance your career, improve your personal family life and even save your life.  It’s worth taking the time to actually think about what kind of decision maker you are.  That way, when the pressure comes, you can be fearless in the moment and not hesitate when you make your decision.  Knowing sometimes you will make the wrong decision, but at the same time knowing that because you are making principle-based decisions, most of the time you will be making the right decision for you.

4 Responses to “5 Types Of Decision Making”

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Some really valuable stuff from Dustin Hillis – Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting™

  2. Jose Aguilar Says:

    Great stuff about decision making. First blog I read about this topic.

  3. charlie swoboda Says:

    Great ideas… thanks again Dustin

  4. Your site is just what I needed. You have no clue how long I have
    been pondering the same thing! I am so comforted that I am no longer by myself.

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