Decision Making Case Study #1 – Complex Decisions - Ed Ferrigan

Decision Making Case Study #1 – Complex Decisions

Decision Making with Great Decisions Software

Sorting out complex decisions can be very rewarding and educational. Recently I was working with a client in my executive coaching practice. He was struggling between two job possibilities: the current temporary position that could possibly turn into a full time position or a longer term position with another company.

On the surface this may seem very basic but it is actually a very complex decision. First off, he originally got hired in the position as a contractor for a period of time. Through some personal work we discovered the unconscious strategy was to only stay in jobs a short while, work extra hard to be "liked" then move on because of the belief that it is too dangerous to get too close to people and then be rejected.

This is a common strategy for people who have had early life unresolved neglect or rejection experiences. And his strategy was working, for the past year he has succeeded in getting people's attention to "like" him.

During our coaching sessions he has come to realize that maybe it is possible to stay in one place, learn to take in people's gratitude, and learn to see life through another lens rather than the pain of rejection lens. In other words, it's an opportunity to renegotiate the belief that got formed in his early life relational experiences.

To complicate matters, another job opportunity emerges and offers the possibility to develop leading edge skills that creates more long-term job security and probably more income in the future. Through a series of events a close colleague got wind that there was a chance this person may take another job if the current organization couldn't make a permanent offer in the next 60 days. This person rallied the forces in the organization to make this a reality. They are about to make him an offer for a full time position.

Using the decision making tools in Great Decisions software assisted us to create a list of attributes to sort this dilemma out. Lets look at the sorting process. Using the Forcefield analysis first we can sort what is motivating him or what is stopping him from either job.

Job 1 (Stay where I am)

Motivating me to stay (Green or left column) (27 total score)

  • Familiar with people (7)
  • Established presence (8)
  • Part of me wants to be on a team (6)
  • I'm the subject matter expert (6)

Stopping me (Red or right column) (15 total score)

  • Ties me down, less freedom being an employee (9)
  • Skills are not as transferable to other positions I excel at (6)
  • Over time this list will evolve with the complexity that reveals itself when he sits with the information for a while. For example, I know that living in a certain location is another important attribute to this person and long term financial success is another value. At some point they will be on the list.

Job 2 (Accept the new position)

Motivating me (Green or left column) (23 total score)

  • More money (4)
  • Have a friend who loves it there (5)
  • Subject matter expert (6)
  • Skills are more transferable - job security (8)

Stopping Me (Red or right column) (32 total score)

  • Ties me down, less freedom being an employee (9)
  • Would work virtual rather than being around people all day (6)
  • No history of "proving self"….will they "like" me? (10)
  • Less likely to work through personal validation issues working long distance (7)
  • At the present time it is looking like Job #1 is the better choice but it may take several days of contemplation and re-weighing the importance before final conclusions can be drawn. The beauty of this tool allows anyone using it to contemplate the variables and to give them an emotional weight.

It is also useful to score each job opportunity by using the comparison tool within Great Decisions. Here is an example of what attributes could be used based on previous information:

  • Long term impact
  • Company culture
  • Pay
  • Tolerate closeness of others
  • Seen and validated (culture who emphasizes employees importance)
  • Location
  • Benefits
  • Freedom
  • Personal growth opportunities
  • Intellectual growth opportunities
  • Job security

In conclusion, some decisions can be very complex and having a way to sort the complexity is the cash value of using Great Decisions. These tools are nothing new and have been around for eons but visually seeing them conveniently on your phone or iPad makes it a gem of a tool when you need it. Great Decisions and Great To Do List can be found at the Apple Computer iTunes App Store. Feel free to email any questions to


Relationship expert, Ed Ferrigan, M.A., CPCC, has been helping singles, couples, managers, and teams break through limiting beliefs and communicate more effectively for over 23 years. Ed is author of the book 100+ Ways To Get Back On The Horse, facilitates workshops on communication skills and provides relationship coaching all over the world using web technology. Ed is a local resident of Salt Lake City, UT is an avid dancer, and enjoys fly-fishing.