Decisions, Decisions

I have a new rule. If I have the same coaching conversation five times or more, it gets a blog post.

Here’s a coaching question I encounter a lot. “How do I decide between staying in my current job or moving into a new one?” Coachees often grapple with this decision, whether fueled by the Great Resignation or just the natural course of career progression. Sometimes it’s an internal move, sometimes an external move, and sometimes a complete career change.

I also see this question from the other side of recruiting. “How do I decide which candidate to hire?” Today’s blog post offers a simple tool that can support you in making any critical decision where you are weighing multiple competing options. 

What’s Important

You may have taken the time to create your “pros and cons” list. Or perhaps you have only a high-level sense of what matters to you. Taking the time to think this through and quantify it is critical. I encourage you to create a rubric to evaluate your options. Come up with ten or fewer criteria that matter to you about the decision.

For example, if you are choosing between staying in your current job or switching to a new one, your criteria might include:

  • Quality of life
  • Salary/compensation
  • Benefits
  • Work from home flexibility
  • How closely the company’s mission aligns with your values
  • The quality of your manager
  • Your confidence in the company’s future

Next, decide each criterion’s importance to you – they shouldn’t all be equal. Assign a percentage weight to each category, such that the weight totals 100%.

Score the Options

Once you are clear on your criteria and the relative importance of each one, grade each option. I suggest either a 10-point scale or a 5-point scale. If you’re interviewing for jobs, I encourage you to update your rubric after each round of interviews while the experience is still fresh in your mind.

Keep in mind you may have to recalibrate your scores after an interview. For example, after completing interviews for Option 1, you are impressed with the manager, so you give them a 10. Then, you complete interviews for Option 2, and that manager is even better than the first one. So maybe you adjust the manager score for Option 1 down to 9, and the Option 2 manager is now a 10.

Go through this process for each criterion for each option. Then multiply the score by the weight to get a weighted score. Sum up the scores for each option, and you’ll get a quantifiable score.

Completed example of decision rubric

Option 2 and Option 4 are the most desirable options in this example. Does this mean you blindly select Option 4? Absolutely not.

This tool helps you quantify what’s important to help put the decision in perspective. If you complete this exercise and your gut tells you Option 2 is better than Option 4, you can look at the numbers – do you think your weighting isn’t accurate? Is there a criterion that you are missing?

If you complete this exercise and your gut tells you Option 5 is the best choice, you know you need to do some soul-searching. Why are your perceived criteria so out of alignment with what your gut is telling you?

I’ve made this decision rubric available as a Google Sheet – please feel free to create a copy and adapt it to your purposes. Good luck with your decisions!

Schedule time with Josh.

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