Pros/Cons Game

Goal: Organize Your Thoughts to Make Careful Decisions

Making a decision can be an extremely difficult process; often times when thinking about your options, the positive and negative aspects of the choices can get jumbled together, winding a tangled mess of confusion. Fortunately, in 1772, Benjamin Franklin developed the Pros/Cons List: a genius method that cleanly untangles the factors of your options and weighs the good and bad aspects of a choice against each other so you can uncover its potential. As simple as it sounds, this popular technique has been involved in decision-making processes around the world for centuries. With the collaboration of the Gamestorming team, we have created the Pros/Cons Game to help you organize your thoughts and make careful decisions.

The Game

To begin, draw a large t-table with “Pros” on the left side and “Cons” on the right. Describe an issue to your team and give them one of the options that could make the decision. Ask them to write the positive and negative aspects of the choice on sticky notes and to post them on the respective sides of the chart. Once all of the ideas are posted, spend time collaborating with your group, digging deep into the complex entanglement of the problem. As a team, organize the sticky notes by importance, placing the most pressing ideas at the top and the less important notes at the bottom. If you find that a “Pro” idea and a “Con” idea that are equal in importance, take them both off. If there are two pros that equal a con, three cons that equal two pros, etc., take all of them off the chart. This removal process will leave you with an unbalanced table, making the choice’s potential more obvious. Once you have removed all the notes you can, analyze your results and make your decision.

Why It Works

The Pros/Cons Game involves visual organization and critical thinking to aid your decision-making process. By separating the positive and negative aspects of a decision, you can better understand the benefits of your options. Who knows — perhaps if Benjamin Franklin had not created this effective technique, his ideas and decisions would not be available for us to benefit from.

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