Personal Gains and Losses
Determine expected personal gains and losses for each of your solutions.
The Personal Gains and Losses technique (Janis and Mann, 1977) is actually a variation of 'Pros & Cons'. Originally intended for use in the presence of some person like a therapist to assist individuals to increase their commitment to private decisions, such as giving up smoking.
There is plenty of research to support the theory that when you make a recorded statement of why you believe that a particular course of action is correct for you, it becomes easier to commit.
This statement also serves as a written balance sheet for your plan. Refer back to it and compare with actual events. This feedback is a critical step to having accountability in your problem-solving process.
To record a Statement of Personal Gains and Losses:
Step 1: Create a table with 9 columns (see table below).
Step 2: List your Alternatives down the left-hand column.
Step 3: Label the other columns: 'Gains for You-Tangible', 'Gains for You-Intangible', 'Gains for Others-Tangible', 'Gains for Others-Intangible', 'Losses for You-Tangible', 'Losses for You-Intangible', 'Losses for Others-Tangible', and 'Losses for Others-Intangible'.
Step 4: List the expected gains for yourself.
Step 5: For all of these, separate them into tangible (possessions, money, health, etc.) and intangible (approval, confidence, self-image, reputation, etc.).
Step 6: List the expected gains for others.
Step 7: List the expected losses for yourself.
Step 8: List the expected losses for others.
Step 9: Repeat for each alternative.
Diagram of a Statement of Personal Gains and Losses table: