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Do you suffer from “analysis paralysis”? | Future Leaders Blog

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 A journalist once asked a very successful businessman: “What is the secret of your success?”

The man responded: “Two words”

 “And what are they sir?”

 “Right decisions”

“OK, I see – and how do you make the right decisions, if I may ask?”

 “One word”

 “And what is that?”

  “Experience”

  “I see, and how do you get experience sir?”

 “Two words”

 “And what are they?”

 “Wrong decisions”

We first heard this story a long time ago. And we still think it’s a great one.

So many people suffer from what we would call “analysis paralysis”. This is when we worry about what decision to make, worrying that there is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ decision. The thing is, we can never really know what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Whatever decision we make, we can’t go back and compare the outcome with what the outcome would have been if we had taken the other option. Nothing ever stands still, there is no way of knowing what result the other decision would have created. We must simply look at all of it as learning. There is no such thing as failure, only results. Learning helps us to develop and grow. If we don’t learn we don’t grow.

There is no such thing as failure, only results

We do of course need to analyze and compare the options, and then make the decision and move on. And we need to recognize that even the ‘wrong’ decisions are on some level ‘right’, as they always bring us experience and an outcome that can be evaluated and used as fuel for the next steps.

Besides, in a fast changing world, there is definitely no time for endless “analysis paralysis”. We need to be able to make decisions where we balance the need for speed with depth and breadth of data – to be able to progress the situation/project etc.

It does of course take a certain amount of courage to make a decision and to take responsibility for its outcome. Courage is indeed crucial to progress and success. We must be willing for all of our decisions to not all be perfect. ‘Perfect’ is an illusion. When is anything every ‘perfect’? Is there even such a thing? Maybe perfection is to learn? Maybe perfection is to keep getting better at something? Maybe perfection in the analysis paralysis form is outdated?

Perfect is an illusion. When is anything every ‘perfect’?

Is there even such a thing? Maybe perfection is to learn?

Maybe perfection is to keep getting better at something?

So beware the illusion of ‘perfection’ too. Chasing perfection so easily makes us too cautious, too worried of not getting it ‘right’.

Don’t let ‘analysis paralysis’ stop you. Do the analysis you need to, and then make the decision and follow through on it. And then evaluate the results you get, learn from it – value the experience it gives you. If it’s not great, then get up, brush yourself off and keep going, taking your learning and experience with you on the way. This is resilience and it is crucial to success.

Here’s to your success!

About the authors:

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book, multi-award-winning ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”, published by Financial Times International is a practical tool for building winning teams. You can download a free chapter of the book at www.leadingteamsbook.com

Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”Enjoyable to read. Simple to understand. Practical to implement. A must read for team members or leadersDebbie Fogel-Monnissen, Executive Vice President, International Markets Finance Officer, Mastercard, NY, USA

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