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Value-Focused Thinking: A Decision-Making Framework for Achieving Your Goals

Making decisions is an essential part of our daily lives. From small decisions like what to eat for breakfast, to big decisions like choosing a career path, we are constantly faced with choices that can have a significant impact on our lives. When making decisions, it's important to have a framework that can guide us in the right direction. Value-Focused Thinking is one such framework that can help us make more informed decisions by focusing on our values and goals.

Value-Focused Thinking (VFT) is a decision-making framework that was developed by Ralph Keeney, a renowned decision analyst. VFT is based on the idea that decision-making should be driven by our values and goals, rather than just the options available to us. By focusing on our values and goals, we can create a decision-making framework that is more aligned with what we truly want to achieve.

The VFT framework involves three main steps: defining objectives, developing alternatives, and evaluating trade-offs. Let's take a closer look at each of these steps:

  1. Defining Objectives: The first step in VFT is to define our objectives. This involves identifying our values and goals, and prioritizing them based on their importance to us. By clearly defining our objectives, we can ensure that our decisions are in line with what we truly want to achieve.

  2. Developing Alternatives: The second step in VFT is to develop alternatives. This involves brainstorming a range of options that can help us achieve our objectives. By generating a variety of alternatives, we can ensure that we are considering a wide range of possibilities, and not just limited to a few options.

  3. Evaluating Trade-Offs: The final step in VFT is to evaluate trade-offs. This involves assessing the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, and comparing them to our objectives. By weighing the trade-offs, we can make an informed decision that is aligned with our values and goals.

One of the benefits of VFT is that it provides a structured framework for decision-making that can be applied in a wide range of contexts. Whether you're making a personal decision, a business decision, or a policy decision, VFT can help you make a more informed choice that is aligned with your objectives.

In conclusion, Value-Focused Thinking is a powerful decision-making framework that can help you achieve your goals by focusing on your values and objectives. By defining your objectives, developing alternatives, and evaluating trade-offs, you can make a more informed decision that is aligned with what you truly want to achieve. If you're looking for a framework that can help you make better decisions, consider giving VFT a try.


  • Keeney, R. L. (1992). Value-focused thinking: A path to creative decisionmaking. Harvard University Press.

  • Fenton-O'Creevy, M., Soane, E., Nicholson, N., & Willman, P. (2011). Thinking, feeling and deciding: The influence of emotions on the decision making and performance of traders. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32(8), 1044-1061.

  • Bana e Costa, C. A., & Vansnick, J. C. (2008). Reflections on modern decision support: A dialogue with Ralph Keeney. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, 15(1-2), 1-11.

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