With an overabundance of data and information, we have to find a way to get past “yeah, but” and get to “do!”
Did you know that some poor soul on the battlefield at Gettysburg left behind a rifle loaded with 23 projectiles? It’s true. When you understand the vast effort required to load a muzzle-loaded rifle, you start to understand the peculiarity of this anecdote.
Now, do you know any poor souls who toil under a leader who is great at loading but never pulls the trigger? You know him… He’s the guy who, no matter what, needs more analysis. He needs more information in order to make a decision. You get the sense that if he were in the middle of the road with a semi-truck bearing down on him, he would ask for an estimate of its speed before deciding to get out of the way.
I’m betting you know this guy. He is the Fred Flintstone of business… Only he’s always “yeah, but” and never “do.” Don’t be this guy…
Our current overabundance of data and information allows us the benefit of knowing so much in so little time that we can forget the need to actually act. Decision makers make decisions. That means they take information, perceive it, process it, and decide on it. When you spend too much time perceiving and processing, the battle passes you by.
You end up with a rifle loaded 23 times and never fired.
Not to mention you end up with an organization that is exhausted by all the loading…the constant analysis and responding and delaying and dithering.
As a provider of strategic insight and analysis, I personally wage war against analysis paralysis in keeping to a philosophy of practical strategic impact. Sometimes, this means helping clients acknowledge when they know enough to fish or cut bait.
When is enough enough? Well, that depends. In one of my first blog posts, linked here, I went into a bit of detail on Bayesian Inference as a powerful tool for strategic (and interpersonal) analysis. Knowing when you have enough information to make a decision is a critical skill in all leadership positions. In leadership positions that come with the luxury of delay, determining whether to do more analysis really comes down to the return on investment: Will the new analysis prove or disprove what you substantially already know?
A lot of times, the answer is “no.”
Make a decision.
Yabba Dabba Doo!
I’m curious what you do to ensure you are acting vs. analyzing… Please share.