Are you a Maximizer or Satisficer?

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Maximizers seek and accept only the best. They spend extensive time researching and agonizing over a decision, often experiencing post-purchase remorse.

Satisficers have criteria and standards. But once these standards are met, satisficers stop looking and execute a purchase.

Maximizers and Satisficers were brought to my attention in reading the excellent book The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz in which he outlines how the culture of abundance robs us of satisfaction.

A topical example that demonstrates this is in purchasing a new car.

Maximizers read all available online forums and magazines on new car reviews. They test drive every vehicle (sometimes twice!) in their price and specification range. They discuss their pending decision with work colleagues, friends and family extensively. The research and purchase decision is carried out obsessively for months. They finally buy the car only to complain to you about it, regret not purchasing another brand while continuing to read and listen to reviews. Their filter seems to pick up on all the negatives and ignore the positives. They can experience post-purchase remorse and fail to experience the joy of owning their brand-new car.

The Satisficer also scopes their new car purchase. They conduct research and quickly narrow their choice down to two vehicles. Both cars are test driven and their second choice eliminated. They then negotiate and purchase. Not another moment is spent thinking about the decision while driving with that ‘new car smell’ filling their nostrils.

Which one are you?

Of course, deciding whether you are a Maximizer or Satisficer is not binary. You probably have a bias towards one. Most of us are only 5% off a disorder in our eccentricities.

Like many personal attributes, the dangers of maximizing and satisficing lye at the extremes.

In business, there are implications of being a true Maximizer. The time, money and opportunity cost of taking too long to execute decisions can really hurt. There is a personal toll on the individual and all those around Maximizers – partners, customers, employees, suppliers, family and friends.

But being a complacent Satisficer in the extreme can hurt too. Not checking those employee references. Accepting those Chinese input materials for manufacture without beta-testing. Executing decisions without due-diligence can create other problems.

Nobel-Prize winning economist and psychologist Herbert Simon initially introduced the idea of satisficing in the 1950’s, suggesting that when all costs (time, money and anguish) involved in getting all information on all options are considered – satisficingis actually the maximizing strategy.

I agree with Simon. Be a Satisficer rather than Maximizer in business as a winning strategy.

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To start creating sustainable success in your business and life, download a copy of my eBook 'The Success Algorithm' which details my process to work less and earn more. You can get a free copy on the Giveaways page of my website. Plus some bonus videos from my Fourth Moon video series to reach your goals sooner!

All the best, 

Darren K Bourke