Why Making Decisions Is Often More Than “Yes” or “No”

Why Making Decisions Is Often More Than “Yes” or “No”
by Skyline Group

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I recently had a conversation with a client about his desire to be more strategic about decision-making—particularly about decisions that would impact his career and his life.

Two years ago, he was offered a different position within his current company. He was excited about the new opportunity and dove in headfirst, moving to California and expecting to join the management team in that region, as he’d been promised.

It was a disaster.

The regional management team knew he was coming but was not informed that he was supposed to join them as a member of the top team; as a result of the miscommunication, my client was told that he might join the team in a few months, rather than immediately. Compounding this disappointment, my client’s working relationships with his new colleagues proved to be challenging and tense.

Today, he sees the last two years as a failure. However, he now has now an opportunity to take a new position within his company, and he wanted to know whether he should say yes or no. The problem is that he had no clear idea about how to think strategically about the decision.

The first step to making decisions is to develop a set of criteria—a list of items that are important to you. In my client’s situation, the list might include compensation; would he be getting a raise? Could he accept a decrease in pay if the job seemed ideal? Another element to consider might be the people involved: Who would be on the team,

and would he be able to develop good working relationships with them? Another aspect might be his expected roles and responsibilities, and whether those would jive with his needs and wants for his career.

The idea is that once my client can articulate a set of criteria that are important to him, he will be in a better position to rate the offer, rather than make an emotional or impulsive decision about it. He can, for example, use the 80/20 rule: If the offer meets 80% of his criteria, he’ll take it; if it doesn’t, he’ll pass. At the same time, he may

consider some elements of the criteria non-negotiable (or deal-breakers); that is to say, if any of those items were not present, he would respectfully decline the offer.

Acting in this measured way ensures that—whether he takes the position or not—the “yes” or “no” will have strategic reasons behind it, which he can leverage through many other decisions that will eventually influence his career. Apply the same line of thinking to making any important decision if you want to live your life in an intentional, purposeful way.

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