How to make better decisions



Do you need to make an important business or personal decision and want to make sure you have considered a variety of factors? Use the PANOAPT acronym, developed by Katie Schwartz, CCC-SLP.


PANOAPT stands for Positives and Negatives, Other options, Additional information needed, People affected and Timeline. What is good and bad about each option? What other information do you need to make this decision? Who will be affected, both immediately and through a ripple effect (such as vendors, employees, your family, etc)? What is your timeline for this to occur?


Let's say your department is being given the option to participate in a community service project on a certain day. Does this project further one of the goals for your department, such as better team morale and rapport? Do you have time to do it that day, or any day? Do you need to know anything about the organization that you will be helping? What materials are you responsible for providing, and who will purchase them? Given the times and location of the project, who will be affected by this? Will some employees stay in the department to answer the phones and sign for purchase orders that are being delivered? Will some employees get back to the office late and how will this affect those with children or seniors who need to be picked up on time from schools, child care and adult day care? How long will it take to order the supplies, get them delivered, and complete the project and associated paperwork, if any? Who will do those tasks?


Decision-making is an important task. The PANOAPT is a helpful acronym for making complex decisions.