Yes or no? Making better decisions by using the scenario technique

“The oldest, shortest words – ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – are those which require the most thought.” Pythagoras

You are facing a significant decision. For example, you have an attractive job offer on the table. The change seems to offer many advantages, but it also has consequences. Your thoughts are going round and round. You are torn. How could you proceed appropriately and come to the best possible decision?

We all use different ways to make our decisions. Some of us value gut feeling; others analyse the facts and figures. Whatever your preference is, in my experience, the following procedure has proven effective in bringing some order into the tangle of thoughts and feelings. 

1. Create a list of criteria – at the earliest possible stage. The crucial point is to have that list ready beforehand. Its purpose is to clarify your decision-making criteria: What is really important to you? If private components play a role, you might create the list together with your partner. These criteria are then used to view and assess the options with a certain distance and on a solid basis. Then prioritize the points according to ‘must’ and ‘nice to have’ criteria and apply those to evaluate your options.

3. If you are in a comfortable situation, i.e., if you have alternatives and there is room for negotiation, ask yourself: “Under which conditions would I take this step? Which factors would need to be right for me to say yes?” With this clarity, you can enter the negotiation with an open-minded and relaxed position.

4. Scenario thinking: This approach strongly involves your gut feeling. Let’s assume you have to decide between option A and B. Imagine – for a certain time span, for some hours or even a whole day – that you had chosen option A; for example, you stay in your current job. Think and empathize completely with this scenario, as if you had already taken the step. How do you feel? What thoughts are going through your head? Afterward you do the same with scenario B. Usually, it feels evident then which of the two options is right for you.

Especially in a decision-making situation, ‘thinking out loud’ with a sparring partner in a coaching session can be valuable. Please contact innoaction Christina Wanke without obligation.

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Yes or no? Making better decisions by using the scenario technique

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