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Healthy employee-employer relationships start with this belief: ‘Change is not failure’

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Annie Duke is a world-champion poker player, author, and cognitive sciences researcher. She is also a self-proclaimed professional quitter. In an interview for her book "Quit," [xxxiii] she said:

"Generally we won’t quit until it’s no longer a decision. -- In other words, there’s no hope. You’ve butted against the certainty; your startup is out of money, and you can’t raise another round. You’re in a job with a boss that is so toxic that you have used up all your vacation and sick days and you’re still having trouble getting yourself into work.”

Duke’s comments relate to a forced change. Sometimes change is the result of a forcing function. Running out of money or having an absurdly toxic boss is an extreme forcing function example. Changing prior to the forcing function will often avoid a “crash landing.” A crash is often more negative than if more proactive changes were made before the crash. Thus, recognizing the need and preparing for change is important.

This article is part of our article series:

Job evaluation and potential job changes relate to the decision-making process. Successful gamblers like Annie Duke are incredibly good decision-makers. Their good decisions are outcomes of good decision processes characterized by:

  1. Objectively evaluating the probability and risks of potential gambles, and

  2. Understanding and integrating their and other players' emotions.

Good gamblers anticipate essential game success drivers and the nuances of the environment in which the game is played. Good gamblers embrace both objective and emotional information in their decision-making. Gambling and job evaluation share a common thread. They are both subject to uncertainty. They both require decision processes integrating factual information, forecasts, and emotion.

The next graphic provides the high-level job evaluation decision framework. In the next article, we start by exploring the job evaluation scenario exercise called a "premortem." [iii] The rest of this article series walks through integrating the premortem and performance review feedback into this job evaluation decision framework. We suggest tools to confidently make the best decisions.

Job evaluation decision framework

Please see Premortem example - developing Mr. or Ms. Right for a practical premortem example in the context of the job evaluation decision framework.

But first, let’s explore why change is not a failure. In many ways, our culture teaches us the opposite!

There is an old saying:

"Winners never quit and quitters never win."

Many hear this saying in childhood. My optimistic belief is that this saying was intended to help children. By providing simple rules, children are encouraged to develop grit and resilience. As adults, we need to update our initial beliefs. As adults, hopefully, we have developed the necessary grit and resilience. This job evaluation model helps employees take ownership of the beliefs formed earlier in their life. This job evaluation approach helps appropriately update those earlier beliefs.

Fast-forward to today's world:

"The only constant is change."

It may turn out that the current job, while different, remains a source of benefit in their life. Sometimes, work changes may cause their job to lack the necessary benefit. In a dynamic, changing world, winners are those that know when to change and when not to change. This job evaluation approach will help achieve confidence-inspiring job decisions. This job evaluation enables employees to be fully engaged or determine when it is time for a change. This job evaluation approach avoids the negative-for-all-gray world of quiet quitting.

Resources - Definitive Choice

Definitive Choice is a smartphone app. It provides a straightforward user experience and is backed by time-tested decision science algorithms. It uses a proprietary "Decision 6™" approach that organizes the criteria (what is important to you?) and alternatives (what are the choices?) in a series of bite-size ranking decisions. Since it is on the smartphone, it can be used while doing research. It is like having a decision expert in your pocket. The results dashboard provides a rank-ordered list of "best choices," tailored to your preferences. Apps like this enable decision-makers to configure their own choice architecture.

Also, Definitive Choice comes pre-loaded with many templates. These templates can be customized, but the preloaded templates provide a nice starting point. For the current state or premortem alternatives, Definitive Choice will help determine, track, and weigh job criteria. It will also help apply the criteria to different job alternatives. This will help negotiate the best outcome. It provides confidence and accuracy when it is time for a change.

Other job evaluation resources:

Hulett, Negotiating success and building your BATNA, The Curiosity Vine, 2021


[iii] We discuss what gambling and confidence games teach us about cognitive biases, risk management, and forecasting in the following article:

Additional citations may be found in the following article:

Hulett, Changing Our Mind, The Curiosity Vine, 2021


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