How do you make decisions? Are you the kind of person who likes to research all the options before choosing your path or do you have more of a “shoot from the hip” approach? It probably depends on the decision right? Whatever your process, we’ve all faced those decisions that are genuinely tough to make.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what goes into making decisions; big or small. And most times, I think making a choice is all about managing tradeoffs. Whenever we decide to do “this”, we’re also choosing not to do “that”. Of course, I’m talking in generalities here and every decision is different. But I think that more often than not, deciding what you’re not going to do (the tradeoff) is what makes it difficult to decide what you are going to do.

In my role at HCA, I am part of our Sustainability Steering Committee. I chair the Energy and Water Taskforce which focuses on how our facilities can lessen their environmental impact as it relates to – you guessed it – energy and water. The decisions we have to make aren’t easy, and we believe they’re important. So to help, I developed a framework that is designed to help analyze the many tradeoffs in the decision making process. I call it the F.A.C.E.S. Tradeoff Comparison Analysis. Here are the components:

Function – What is the job that needs to be done?

Aesthetics – What are the emotional, cultural and feeling aspects?

Cost – How much money does it cost in both the short term and long term?

Efficiency – How efficient is “this” compared to “that”?

Sustainability – Which choices are most sustainable (ie green)? Which ones are most reliable? How do they compare?

This process and these questions have helped our team make some crucial decisions related to our sustainability efforts.

How about you? Is there a process you use for decision making? I encourage you to give the F.A.C.E.S. Tradeoff Comparison Analysis on any sort of comparison and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your how it worked for you.