6th Jul 2012 |
Interpreting your Results
By this stage you have listed all your decision criteria at the top of your spreadsheet and all of your options in the first column. The next step is to evaluate all of your options against your criteria. This means scoring every single option against every single criterion. This can take time but the results are usually fascinating. By the end of the scoring you will have some options that score well (at the top) and some that don’t (at the bottom).
Interpreting your Results
Step 1 – Get Rid of the Dross
Start with the option that scored lowest. Are you willing to cross it off your list? This means that you will never do this option – whatever it is, this option has gone. So you will know longer become a dolphin trainer in Orlando, you must turn away from your dream of earning millions as an oil trader or you will now finally forego the chance to open that cupcake shop. Cross it off the list. DO IT NOW.
Step 2 – Keep Getting Rid of the Dross
Now start working your way up the list from the bottom, crossing as many options off as you can. Let them go. After all, if they were really options they would have scored better against your critera. You have evaluated them, and found them wanting. THEY MUST
DIE BE CROSSED OFF!
Step 3 – Pay Attention to your Feelings
At some point you may feel uneasy about crossing an option off. Maybe you aren’t ready to let go of something halfway up your list – the dream of becoming a professional clown just will not die. That’s OK. Try to pay attention to your feelings in these situations. For many people, steps 1 and 2 feel like a relief. It feels good to finally admit that those options aren’t for you. But step 3 is about getting in touch with feelings that say ‘I need a bit longer with this’. Is there anythig you’re secretly disappointed with? Perhaps something scored too high, or low? Pay attention to these thoughts. Give a stay of execution to the ones that feel hard to tick off.
Step 4 – Looking for Patterns
Now you will be left only with the options that score well, plus any you saved from step 3. We encourage our clients to look for patterns in the results. What comes top? Are there any patterns and themes in the top 10? What do these say about your likely future direction? Could any of them be combined in some way? (I had ‘writer’ and ‘psychologist’ in my top 10 – writing about psychology is an easy combination).
Step 5 – Further research
Next step is to really engage with the options remaining. You will need to get out there, do some more research on the options, speak to people doing those roles, try to bing each option to life so that you understand it in detail. This means networking, researching, going to talks, testing some hypotheses and possibly even trying to get some direct experience. You may find that you need to relabel some of your options making them more specific at this stage – so ‘management consultant’ becomes ‘management consultant at boutique consultancy’.
Step 6 – Rescoring
Armed with the knowledge from step 5, re-score your options. Again, pay attention to the feelings you get from the results. Repeat step 5 and 6 as necessary – it could take a few iterations for clarity to emerge.
Step 7 – Choose a Direction
Finally, you are ready to choose a direction. Maybe a clear winner emerged. Maybe you are left with a plan A and a plan B. Now is the time to move into planning mode and action – the final step of the process.