NOTE: This is an “extra credit” post for the 10 Days to Winning @ Work free email course. It will make more sense if you have that context first prior to reading the post below. The course is available here:
The important thing to remember about issue trees, is that they are not merely graphical representations of outlines. Instead, the graphics convey a key inter-relationship of the boxes and bullets to an issue.
It namely says, if all of the following are true, then the top-level conclusion is true. See laptop purchase story:
If you’ve done a nice job with your MECE categories, it will indeed follow that if the laptop performs to the needed specs, it’s superior to the alternatives, and it fits in my budget…I should purchase it. Bonus thought: But what if I already have a laptop? Perhaps the issue tree needs to be revised to be slightly more collectively exhaustive.
Additionally, you can use issue trees as a means of segmenting how something can be achieved. EITHER this OR that, in the case of these expenses:
Issue trees can really shine when you’re tackling bigger decisions. Spoiler alert: I did!
Issue trees can also help you organize your thoughts to be extra persuasive: