Excel is a powerful decision-making tool that is best used for “What If Scenarios” regarding complex financial models. It can also be used for challenging complex strategic decisions with numerous factors. Often there are too many variables to consider without some help from Excel.
When tasked to present the best assessment for a business challenge, a narrative overview helps frame the topic. However, a detailed decision ranking analysis carries more weight due to some meaningful thought surrounding the variables selected to attain your recommendation. In my experience, I’ve attended meetings where many business leaders present their recommendations from their experience with anecdotes, using unrelated examples of prior decisions that often represent an unsubstantiated viewpoint than a true analysis. When faced with a complex and expensive business decision, I use an Excel-based workbook to detail the key variables and consider each variable on its standing. Frequently the variables within the assessment will be subjective. However, I apply all of my knowledge, experience, and research into a variable score to develop the best proposal.
The video below uses a basic Excel file to list the ranking variables and choices in a one-page format. The variable lists can vary from a few to over thirty assessment criteria. My examples use a typical contractor selection approach, a building or land purchase review, and a personal decision workbook that helped my son determine his college choice. The college choice decision variables were provided from easily accessible online data and were easily to pasted into Excel. All of the examples involve substantial matters that can cost millions, and the decision effects last for years.
I hope you enjoy the video and consider using this approach in your next complex decision.