Pros and Cons List

At one point or the other, we are all faced with difficult decisions that require taking immediate action. Sometimes, we are even convinced that we know the best solution to a problem, so we make quick decisions without considering all the alternatives at hand. However, this can be avoided by simply creating a pros and cons list, which is an effective decision-making tool that allows you to look at different angles to a situation before taking action. While "PROS" are arguments in support of a decision, "CONS" are arguments against the decision. Creating this type of list can help groups and decision-makers make informed decisions.

Why use a Pros and Cons List?

There are so many benefits of using a "Pros and Cons" list.

  • Creating a "Pros and Cons" list is an effective way of reducing errors and uncertainty, especially when there is more than one viable option to follow.
  • By listing the merit and demerits of each choice, the decision-making process becomes objective and less influenced by emotions.
  • In addition, weighing each argument against criteria also provide evidence to support a choice.
  • Pros and Cons list also make group members become aware of the consequences of an action, thereby the opportunity to consider each other's perspective before making a decision.

How to Create a Pros and Cons List

  • Start by putting down your decision on a sheet of paper and dividing them vertically into the pros and cons.
  • List the positive consequence of each decision on the pros column and the negative on the cons column.
  • At this stage, you might know whether to implement the decision or not. However, if it isn't clear yet, simply consider the point you have put down and assign a value to each one.
  • For example, a score of +5 may be strongly favorable, while -1 may be unfavorable. Try to be as objective as possible.
  • Add the scores on each column and subtract the total cons from the total pros.
  • A positive score shows that the decision will yield a positive result, while a negative score indicates that you shouldn't go ahead with the decision.
  • Always use your common sense, if you feel the solution isn't right, check and see the factors you must have missed out.

Final reason to use Pros and Cons list

Finally, the pros and cons list is a simple decision-making tool that requires no special skill or technique to create. However, for more strategic decision making, it is vital to gather ideas from group representatives who also have a different perspective on the subject of debate. In addition, when trying to compare two or more decisions, it is very important that you complete a pros and cons template for each option before comparing the outcomes. If your team members are located in remote locations, it is advisable that you use collaboration tools to get their thoughts and perspectives.