Diamond Ranking for Decision Making

Diamond Ranking for Decision Making


When making decisions, you often need to choose between a series of options. When told to rank options, people sometimes want to give the same rank to multiple options. In some cases, it might be more important to learn about the most and least preferred options rather than to spend time judging between the middle choices.

A technique known as Diamond Ranking can help you focus on the most and least preferred options.


Use the Diamond Ranking technique to make decisions.

What You Need

  • Blank cards


  • Get the delegates to work on a given problem and generate options using a technique that is suitable for your training needs.
  • Ask the delegates to rank the options based on the pattern of a diamonds shown above (left pattern).
  • If there are the right number of options (say 9), this is straightforward. Otherwise, delegates may need to cluster options in a certain level more than others. This is fine. What matters most is what options end up at the two points and the decision process they go through to decide that.
  • If there are many options, you can expand the diamond to accommodate all options. In any case, keep only 5 main levels between the best and worst choices. This is because you want to minimise decision making on middle choices and instead focus on what ends up on extreme ends. For example, you can aim for the pattern shown on the right in the image above.
  • Allocate 15 minutes.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes

Activity: 15 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


What do you think of the results? Do you think the process was suitable for the problem under consideration? When would you consider using this technique?



Chelsea Elm

By Chelsea Elm @ Saturday, January 13, 2018 7:12 PM

** Update **

A customer asked the following question:

Thank you very much for your great resources and granting access to them. I am working on providing my team decision-making tools and I was looking at the Diamond Ranking Method.

I would like to ask for a little clarification on this method. When the delegates are asked to rank the options/alternatives, are they agreeing on what is in each level or are each of them ranking them individually and then collectively placing them on the "board" to see which ones are most and least agreed upon?

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.
Thank you again for this very informative site.

Here is the answer to clarify:

Generally the power behind diamond ranking is in forcing participants to make a choice on two extremes of the diamond and although that the decision making is group based. You therefor have several choices. You could divide the delegates into several groups and get them to rank the options. Then bring them together to compare their choices and discuss and perhaps agree on a final ranking.

Alternatively the whole group can work together to rank the options.

Individually ranking and then getting back together to agree may not be as engaging and productive since the discussions on decision making can be quite valuable.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The Most Similar Exercises & Articles to this in Order of Similarity Are:

Convergent vs Divergent Thinking Exercise
Pictorial Problem Solving
Brainstorming Exercise: The Shifting Technique
Reverse Brainstorming and Negative Brainstorming
Classical Brainstorming and Double Brainstorming
Futures Wheel

Training Resources for You

Course Design Strategy

Course Design Strategy

Available as paperback and ebook

Training Resources

Free Training Resources

Download a free comprehensive training package including training guidelines, soft skills training activities, assessment forms and useful training resources that you can use to enhance your courses.

Body Language Guide

Our Comprehensive Guide to Body Language

Train the Trainer Guides

Train the Trainer Resources

Get Insights - Read Guides and Books - Attend Courses

Training Materials

Get downloadable training materials on: Management Training, Personal Development, Interpersonal Development, Human Resources, and Sales & Marketing

Browse Full Product Catalogue About Training Materials