5 Steps for Creating a Better Pro/Con List for Important Decisions

By Chelsea Babin

Whether you’re weighing a new job opportunity against your current one, trying to decide which direction to pivot in your career, or working on a specific project that has you stumped, creating a pro/con list can help you make better decisions. If you follow these 5 steps, you’ll create a pro/con list that is as effective as can be and will help you really analyze your options before making an important career decision.

1. Plan Multiple Scenarios: Before you can truly evaluate all of your options, you need to know what they are. This is why it’s important to start your process by planning multiple scenarios. For example, if you’re weighing a new job opportunity against your current one, weigh the following scenarios: accepting the new job and it going well, staying at your current job and it going well, accepting the new job and it not feeling like the right fit, staying at your current job and feeling like it’s a dead end, etc. Plan as many scenarios as you feel comfortable doing and spend a little time narrowing your scenarios down until they’re all realistic possibilities.

2. Assess Your Values: Once you’ve explored all of the possible scenarios, you need a scale to weigh them against. That’s where your values come in! Using the same example of a new job, you’d write down all of the values you hold and find important on the job. These could be anything from freedom to collaboration, from growth potential to the change to work with cutting-edge technologies.

3. Weigh Each Value Numerically: Now you at you know what your values are, you need to have a better understanding of what they mean to you. How important is making money? How important is doing work that inspires you? On a scale between 1 and 10, give each of your values its own numerical value so you can understand which ones are essential and which ones are nice to have but not necessary.

4. Grade Your Scenarios on a Scale of 1 to 100: Remember those scenarios you played through and narrowed down until they were all realistic possibilities? It’s time to evaluate each one and see how it addresses each of your core values on a scale of 1 to 100. Using the same job example as before, let’s say you are offered a new job, which would allow you to work from home twice a week, versus your old job where you can’t ever work from home but you have training opportunities. If you value freedom at a 10 and training at a 2, the new job will score higher than the old job.

5. Multiply Grade by Weight: Now that you have your pro/con list with its grades based on your values, you can multiply each grade by the weight of each value. Add those numbers up for each scenario and let the scenario with the highest score win. For those who are truly analytical, this numerical scale will help you hit your evaluation sweet spot. For others, it will give another perspective they won’t have had otherwise.

Now that you have a better idea of how to create a truly effective pro/con list, you can follow these 5 steps in perpetuity to make important decisions in your career (and your personal life too)! Try this out today and share these tips with anyone in your professional network who has an important decision of their own to make.