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Two years ago, within the course of 36 hours, I had to decide whether it was time to leave corporate life and make The Brainzooming Group a full-time business. It wasn’t the first time I’d been presented with a quick career choice where within a very short time window (once it was 30 minutes) it was imperative to decide what I’d do next. At least this time, I had the opportunity to come home and talk with my wife about whether we were ready to make a big step together.

To help make the decision, I used the evaluation sheet below with a simple strategic thinking approach. It looks at my options to stay or go – with or without some type of severance package, across everything I thought was important to consider in making this career and life choice.

When faced with a big choice I try to create a similar evaluation sheet, listing what I think my strategic decision factors are. I then rate how (in this case with a Yes, No, or ?) each of the options presented fulfills each strategic decision factor. You’ll notice none of the decision factors had weightings, and there was no attempt to do a rating scale on the criteria. While those modifications are sometimes helpful, simplicity and a quick decision were most important.

The answer came up that leaving corporate life was the right choice, no matter the circumstances. Looking back, this simple strategic thinking exercise got me to exactly the right place.

The lesson? A really simple strategic thinking exercise can help you make a really big decision. – Mike Brown

 

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement.  To learn how we can bring out the best innovative thinking in your team with our targeted strategic thinking exercise approach, email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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12 Responses to “Strategic Thinking Exercise – Simply Making Big Decisions”

  1. Jim says:

    Love it – ESP the simplicity of it. Jim.

  2. Outstanding, simple way to zero in on the best decision. 

    • Mike Brown says:

      It was surprising to me where things wound up falling out from this. It was a surprise to me that leaving was a better option than staying irrespective of whether a severance was involved. Appreciate your comment, Stephen!

  3. Anonymous says:

    What’s the difference between “Stay” “Go with” and “Go without”? I really like the idea of putting everything on paper and simplify the process, but how do you shut yourself from “mental wrestling” before making the big decision? I’d love to discuss more with you on this. Great post, Mike!

    • Mike Brown says:

      Hey Evelyn! “Stay” was to keep my job. “Go with” was if there was some type of severance that went with leaving. “Go without” meant I was walking out the door without financial severance. Given the situation with the company at the time, it wasn’t clear what the terms would be for leaving. That’s why this evaluation was so important in that it suggested leaving was the better choice either way. Feel free to reach out if you want to talk about it more!

  4. Anonymous says:

    What’s the difference between “Stay” “Go with” and “Go without”? I really like the idea of putting everything on paper and simplify the process, but how do you shut yourself from “mental wrestling” before making the big decision? I’d love to discuss more with you on this. Great post, Mike!

  5. Claus says:

    Nice list . My own experience is to always feel with Your heart and stomach tells you after a thorough rational evaluation process..

    Left corporate life 4 years ago and enjoying life as an independent advisor…

    Claus (Copenhagen- DENMARK)

  6. Mike Brown says:

    Interesting – I just noticed I didn’t count the last “N” on the “Go With” column. Well, it wouldn’t have changed the decision anyway!

  7. ciaochouevelyn says:

    Mike, I wanted to thank you again for this useful metrics. Even though I ended up with a very obvious option, I shared your post with a few friends of mine and will keep encouraging people to read this post before making their decision. Have a great night! Please keep in touch.

    • Mike Brown says:

      It can very well be that the obvious option is exactly the right one for you! Just because you walk through something like this doesn’t mean it has to be a surprising answer…maybe it’s all about confirming what you already knew.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Quora - February 14, 2012

    What are some reasons to completely switch to Linux?…

    Objection your honor!  The question presume points not in evidence! While switching “completely” to Linux was something I did for most of a decade (starting with kernels in the 0.99pl* range) it should not be taken as some sort of gospel for others. …

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