The Kepner-Tregoe Matrix – An Approach towards Successful Decision-Making

The Kepner-Tregoe Matrix – An Approach towards Successful Decision-Making


In any business, the biggest challenge is making viable decisions. Difficulties increase when one has to make a spur of the moment decisions, and such instances are quite common. It's quite natural to feel anxious or pressurized in such situations. No wonder, people rely on shortcuts, take instinctive decisions, or simply jump to conclusions. The stress here is on making the right decisions, make a bad one and you'll keep doing that thereby, adding to your burden of woes. Naturally, your business suffers.
Thankfully, you can learn to make sound decisions because it is a skill-set after all. A practical, logical approach is to be made to weigh your different options and their possible impacts. Kepner-Tregoe Matrix is an approach that provides a systematic and efficient framework for organizing, gathering, and evaluating information for successful decision-making.

Kepner-Tregoe Matrix Approach

The premise of this approach is that making the best choices is the end goal of decision-making process. Developed by Benjamin Tregoe and Charles Kepner in 1960, this approach first appeared in The Rational Manager, a business classic in 1965. Today some of the topmost organizations in the world like NASA follow the principles enumerated in this theory.
According to it, when you are making a decision, risks will be there for sure. The above approach helps you to both evaluate as well as mitigate those risks successfully. It guides you through different processes, such as setting objectives, prioritizing, exploring alternatives, weighing the strongest/weakest choices among top available alternatives.
With the use of this approach, you can generate ways for controlling potential problems arising from your decision-making. It is possible to make unbiased decisions this way.

The Key Steps

A. Appraisal of the Situation:

This step is all about clarification of the situation-identification of concerns and outlining of priorities for finding the direction.

B. Accurate Problem Analysis:

It involves finding the actual definition of an issue or problem for proper identification. This is possible through identification and evaluation of various underlying causes.

C. Complete Decision Analysis:

It comprises of identification and evaluation of various alternatives, scrutiny for negative consequences or potential problems, pinpointing the risks involved in decision, and identification of contingencies. After that, various ways of minimizing the involved risks are considered in this step.

How to Use Kepner-Tregoe Matrix

Prepare your Decision Statement

For businesses interested in applying Kepner-Tregoe Matrix tool, it is important to prepare the decision statement. It should enumerate the various actions required besides the results any organization desires.

Define the various aspects

After the preparation of decision statement, the next step is defining all the aspects associated with the decision-making. This includes the must haves for the strategic requirements of the overall process. Operational objectives signify what you want to achieve through the particular decision-making endeavor and finally the restraints denote limits associated with the system. This way, you clearly understand your requirements, the desired goals and the possible roadblocks that may come in your way of reaching a positive result.

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Rank objectives with assigned relative importance

It is extremely important to prioritize your various objectives related to the decision-making process. Rate them and write down the points in a tabular form in a descending order to know exactly how important is achieving a particular goal for your business. Now you can pay attention to them accordingly.

List out the various alternatives

This list needs to be exhaustive as you will have something to fall back on if your first choice doesn't work out as desired. To ensure the best results, you should generate myriad possible paths of action as many as possible, even if many of these do not seem feasible right away.

Now give score to every alternative you listed

Before assigning the scores, it is important to eliminate every alternative from the list that does not fall into the category of must have in decision-making. Now go through each one of them you listed, rating them against every other. For this, use a scale of 1-10. Now, multiply each objective point with the ratings given (satisfaction score) to reach the final weighted score. Repeat this process with every alternative listed in the table.

Choose the topmost alternatives

Based upon the weighted score that you reach through the above process, now it becomes easy for you to choose the best two or three alternatives. You can base your decision-making process upon these. However, when doing that, you should consider the potential problems associated with each or their negative effects for topmost selections.

Pit the alternatives against potential negative effects

Again, consider each alternative separately and rate them based upon associated negative effects, while scoring for significance and probability. Multiplying both these codes will help you to achieve the weighted score associated with each alternative that you have listed.

Choose the highest scoring alternative

Analyze the weighted scores that you have achieved in the early steps and then weigh them against adversity rating associated with each as calculated in the previous step. Based on this, you should list the highest scoring alternatives and take your pick based upon this result.

Select your winning option

Now that all the hard work is done, finally it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Consider your winning option in view of every negative consequence to suggest an action plan which will minimize the various adverse effects.
So, when you have numerous potential options vying for attention with associated unwanted results, Kepner-Tregoe Matrix can prove to be a handy tool for decision makers. Businesses can count on this because of its ability of minimizing many of the negativities associated with different options.

The Essence of Kepner-Tregoe Matrix Approach

This decision-making approach offers an effective structured methodology to gather, prioritize, and evaluate available information. A well-respected rational business model, it is often used in management circles. The most crucial aspect here is risk assessment and prioritization. Instead of finding perfect solutions, the stress here is on choosing the best one among available alternative to achieve desired outcome with least negative consequences.

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