My Next Career Step – using Option Solving?”

Over two years ago a client moved to Europe for taking up a fairly prominent position in the country of the mother company. He went there to broaden his company exposure, take on greater responsibility , and position himself for more interesting career positions going forward. The time had come for considering his career options, especially as his family were ready to move back home and there was an acceptable (not great) offer on the table back in the US.

We developed an online dialog to consider his options and so set out to create an appropriate question to start the ball rolling. This came to be: “What will be my best career step at this moment in time, considering that my family wishes to return home to the US, there’s an interesting US subsidiary position offer on the table, there are no apparent interesting openings at corporate, if I don’t take this offer I don’t know when the next possibility will become available, and I have the opportunity to pursue a 10 week IMD course?” We’ve shown about 50% of his total considerations, so as not to make the question overly complex..

With the appropriate question in place, we then created two consensus “bookends.” These are designed to define the boundaries for any future options and are purposely created to be the least likely options. They also act as spurs to develop more likely options. The two we developed were: “Remain in current corporate position,” at one end, with, “Ask to be groomed for current boss’s job” at the other. You will see why these were unacceptable in our Latest Example.

Now we aimed to come up with at least five alternatives and, as you will see in our Latest Example, we came up with six options, one of which was: “Complete IMD course then seek position in office of either Global R&D Leader or Global CEO for 1 year + family return to US”… Option F. You can see the other five options in our Latest Example. Can you come up with others?

I encouraged him to sleep on these six options, as a form of emotional distancing, and then choose the one that he felt would best suit his situation by the following morning. I advised him to follow that intuitive call and work with it until a better option came up. He did sleep on it but then decided he would like to “Peel the Onion”, to create further insights, before pursuing any particular career game-plan. We will follow his deliberations in two week’s time.

If you have an issue example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Peeling the Onion: My Next Career Move?” We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)


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