Mar 23 2005

Moving right along

Fred Wilson had a great post recently on the problem of analysis paralysis. I completely agree. One of the challenges of business (and entrepreneurship) is that companies constantly have to make decisions based on incomplete information. That’s just part of the game. Successful entrepreneurs recognize that, take in as much information as makes sense, make a decision and then move on. While it’s helpful to look back at these decisions, I completely agree with Fred’s assertion that it’s not really fair to second guess them (although its important to learn from them). So, how do you avoid the analysis paralysis trap? Here are a couple of thoughts

1. on subjects that you are deeply familiar with, your first or gut instinct is often the best

2. set a finite amount of time to gather information and stick to that time frame

3. the amount of time and energy you spend gathering information on a decision should be proportionate to the importance of the decision you are making

4. recognize what is in your control and what is not (and don’t try to change the latter)

5. don’t sweat the small stuff

6. see number 3

7. be convicted in your decision making – don’t keep rehashing your logic

8. information gathering typically follows the 80/20 rule – learn to recognize that inflection point which is the point of diminishing returns where the incremental time you spend gathering more information about something is greater than the benefit you are getting from that information. 9. re-read number 3 one more time (heck – just post it at your desk)