More Impressions on Value-Focused Decision-Making

Von Marie Schlack & Raphael Seeßle,
Studierende der Betriebswirtschaftslehre im 2. Mastersemester

“ Of course, I often faced consequences in my life that I didn’t appreciate, but I never blamed my decision making competence for that. Having this in mind, I actually did not anticipate that the seminar with Prof. Keeney would change much in my life. (…) In fact, I learned a lot more than I expected.“ – Marie Schlack

 

„Keeney gave us insights into his life and how he himself used value-focused thinking to optimize his decisions. These practical examples showed that value-focused thinking is not just a theoretical concept, but rather a practical tool to purposefully influence the quality of oneself live.“
Raphael Seeßle

 

Impressions on Value-focused Thinking by Marie Schlack

„I never really cared about my decision making competence. Of course I made my decisions – life-changing ones as well as routine decisions in daily life- but most of the time I chose between the obvious alternatives or just acted how I was used or told to act. In my opinion, that worked out pretty well. Of course, I often faced consequences in my life that I didn’t appreciate, but I never blamed my decision making competence for that. Having this in mind, I actually did not anticipate that the seminar with Prof. Keeney would change much in my life. Of course, I still was excited about his theories, concepts and even his personality – how would you expect a person that is recognized as an international expert in the field of decision making to be? In fact, I learned a lot more than I expected.

During the seminar I often wondered how a concept so genius is so less known in society. Of course, you think you are aware of your values and use them intuitively when making decisions. But actually Value-focused thinking is a lot more. In the first instance, it is inconvenient to identify personal values using those systematic concepts. You don’t really like the effort that is inherent with the process. But after understanding the whole concept and applying it to my personal decisions, I really was impressed how open my mind came to be. I got a much broader perspective on my life and the things I really care in particular decision situation. I never even thought that there could be a better possible alternative that I didn’t consider yet and then –  there were 3!

What really impressed me was how Prof. Keeney applied Value-focused thinking to his life. It was exciting to learn how this concept can actually increase the quality of your whole life when applied consistently throughout various decision contexts. Of course, it needs a lot of practice and awareness of your personal values, especially when it comes to identifying decision opportunities and proactively create own decision situations.

The atmosphere in the seminar was really familiar and welcoming. I was pleasantly surprised how open and friendly Prof. Keeney was. He often asked us about our opinions and carefully took critical considerations into account. I also liked how Prof. Keeney told about the balance of life and the time spent on decision making. Nobody should spend his whole life carefully considering every single decision. But in fact it is worth to spent a little more effort on life changing decisions.

I now try to apply Value-focused thinking to my daily life and always be aware of my values. As a consequence of the seminar I decided to learn a new language at the university – I identified a decision opportunity myself and jumped into it.“


Impressions on VFDM by Raphael Seeßle

„Value-focused thinking with its creator Ralph Keeney himself. My expectations for the four day workshop from 28th April till the 3rd of May were really high. Hence, as Keeney entered the room it was a really pleasant surprise. He presented himself as friendly, candid and helpful. He took the time to answer all of the numerous question who the workshop participants and I got. Additionally he taught us substantial and interesting insights into the concept of value-focused thinking. But one by one and from the start.

At the beginning Kenney introduced himself and internalized us that decisions directly influence the quality of our lives and that therefore our decision-making skills are crucial to purposefully enhance the quality of our lives. In order to illustrate us the possibilities of value-focused thinking, Keeney first showed us the limits of how we currently make our decisions via alternative-focused thinking.

After this disclosure, Keeney step by step introduced us to the concept of value-focused thinking. Starting with the definition of the decision or respective the problem statement, he outlined why it is important to know your decision and especially the associated values of the decision. These values need to be stated as objectives and structured as means, fundamental and strategic objectives. Keeney visualized this with the help of means-ends objectives networks. In the next step, Keeney explained us how to create alternatives as well as how to evaluate these alternatives in order to create decision opportunities. In the end, Keeney gave us insights into his life and how he himself used value-focused thinking to optimize his decisions. These practical examples showed that value-focused thinking is not just a theoretical concept, but rather a practical tool to purposefully influence the quality of oneself live.

Summarized, the workshop with Keeney was highly instructive and opened up new perspectives to my decisions. The practical exercises during the workshop, such as the application on his own decision problems as well as the new theoretical insights were really revealing. Additionally the seminar presentations and the ISIS case study gave further insights into the topic. The active exchange together with the detailed discussions with Keeney and the other workshop participants lead to an interactive and informative workshop. As stated above, Keeney took his time to give detailed and expedient answers to our numerous questions. For myself, the personal stories of Keeney himself were the most valuable part of the workshop as they gave unique insights. All in all, for the future I hope to purposefully enhance the quality of my live through the tools I learned within the workshop and value-focused thinking.“

–> Read more about the Workshop


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