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How to avoid the analysis paralysis trap

Analysis paralysis is defined as a state of over-analysing or over-thinking a situation to the point where a decision is never made or action is never taken.  Sound familiar?

With growing pressure to get things right the first time, many businesses are finding themselves in this difficult situation when evaluating new initiatives.  But there are ways to avoid the analysis paralysis trap.

Here are our top tips:

Keep the number of options in check – Too many options lead to clutter and unnecessary noise.  Create a set of non-negotiable base requirements and use these to eliminate the unrealistic or undesirable options very early on.

Create a firm deadline (and stick to it) – The biggest mistake is to leave things open-ended.  In the absence of a deadline everyone can work towards, you and your team will easily come up with a host of excuses as to why additional time is required.  Sometimes a bit of pressure is needed in order to move forward.

Don’t strive for perfection up front – Accept that you can’t plan for every possible permutation or unknown risk up front.  Your direction may need to change as you progress and more details are uncovered, but that’s OK.

Focus on what you can control – Global warming, the political climate and ever-changing customer trends are all examples of factors which are out of your control.  The trick, however, is to not use these as reasons for inaction.  If you’ve got a business issue that needs solving, focus on your people, process and technology to find a way to improve the situation instead of waiting for a larger external factor to correct itself.

Break it down into manageable pieces – If the overall task seems too daunting to solve, break it down into manageable pieces or project phases. Being able to achieve smaller milestones towards a bigger goal will create a feeling of accomplishment while also increasing confidence in yourself and your team.

Stick to your core values – If an initiative doesn’t align with your core business values, scrap it immediately.  There’s no point in investing further energy into something that just doesn’t feel like the right fit from the start.

Plan for the worst – Ask yourself:  What’s the worst that could happen if this initiative failed?  By understanding the worst-case scenario you’ll realise that either A) It’s not a train smash, or B) You can put some preventative or protective measures in place in case things do go wrong.  

Make the circle bigger – It’s always a good idea to include subject matter experts and/or leaders from different areas within your business in the decision-making process.  They will assist in seeing gaps, issues or even hidden potential that perhaps you were too close to see.

If you’re struggling to keep momentum going within your business, there could be a need for an objective outsider’s perspective or a specialised team who can help you drive your decision-making process.

Would you like to connect with us to discuss a business problem you need assistance with?

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