Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re not sure which option to choose?
Effective decision-making requires gathering information from a variety of perspectives and applying sound methods of evaluating that information. The Myers-Briggs® “Zig Zag Process,” is a type-based approach to making better choices and problem-solving. By using all four of the MBTI functions in a specific order – Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling – and not just your preferred ones, you can make sure you’re considering all aspects.
The next time you’re stuck trying to decide between possibilities, such as leaving your job for a new one, moving from one location to another, or determining your next vacation spot, test out this method:
Step 1 – Sensing Function
As a first step, gather the facts – data, details, experiences – through your five senses. Get an understanding of the situation and ask yourself:
- What do I know about this?
- Are there costs associated?
- Will this work?
- Does anything really need to change?
For example, let’s say you receive an attractive offer to leave your job for another one. At this stage, you’ll want to list out the specific facts for your current job and the potential new one such as pay, benefits, commute, work-life balance, work relations, and cultural aspects.
Step 2 – Intuition Function
For step two, you then want to let go and use your imagination. Gather patterns from the information you collected. Focus on the interrelationships, meanings, and future possibilities, and consider:
- What else could this mean?
- Are there other ideas?
- How is this all interconnected?
- Is there a new way to do this?
At this stage, you’ll want to think about the possibilities of the new job opportunity, such as “What does it offer that your current one doesn’t?” and “Could I grow into the same type of role at my current work?” Let’s say you’re just sick of your current role and want out. Does this new opportunity solve that issue? Or should you keep looking?
Step 3 – Thinking Function
In the third step, you will analyze the information and possibilities from a logical standpoint. In a fair and objective manner, look at the effect of acting on each possibility, and think through:
- What are the pros and cons?
- Are their consequences to consider?
- What are the causes and effects?
- Is there anything wrong with this?
This is where you begin moving into decision-making. At this stage, you want to start comparing your current job to the new opportunity in an objective manner by answering the questions above. If you’re someone that has a preference for feeling, this is where bringing in a trusted partner that has no skin in the game is beneficial. Have someone look at the opportunities objectively and provide you feedback on their thoughts – not their recommendation.
Step 4 – Feeling Function
The fourth and final step is weighing the human consequences of acting on each possibility. This is about using empathy and seeking harmony in the situation. Ask yourself:
- What do I like and dislike?
- What impact will this have on others?
- How can I accommodate other people’s interests?
- What are the benefits?
In this final decision-making step, you want to consider the implications and impacts. What does your gut tell you? Which option makes you feel best? If this mental function is not one of your preferred, step back and take some time to yourself to think it through and listen to yourself without judgment. Once you understand what you want, then you can begin thinking through the impacts that you care about most. You’ll want to consider others’ interests and personal stake in your preferred choice as well, before finalizing your decision.
When you find yourself caught between possibilities or eager to choose an option that looks good, step back, and examine your reasoning.
These four steps help you look at all aspects before making a decision. No one is right 100% of the time. Still, a methodical approach like this helps you to choose the better option by removing pressures and anxiety and replacing them with logic and evaluation.