Analysis Paralysis

I was talking to an entrepreneur today and advised him not to surrender to "analysis paralysis".

It’s tempting to want to analyze every option and figure out exactly the best approach before jumping in.

But it’s the wrong way to go in most cases.

As a contrast, I attended a board meeting today where the CEO presented the board with a post-mortem on some decisions he made that turned out to be suboptimal. That was a stand up thing to do and the board appreciated it.  But I am not sure that the CEO in question did the wrong thing.

Because I believe that Teddy Roosevelt (one of my favorite Presidents) had it right when he said:

In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

The CEO didn’t do nothing.  He did something.  Some of what he did was wrong. But he realized it, changed course, and he’s still a lot better off than if he did nothing.

Had he analyzed the situation for another 3 months, he wouldn’t be better off.  He’d be no better than where he is today and possibly a lot worse.

I think action and risk taking is what separates great entrepreneurs from the pack. I am not advocating blind risk taking, but I am advocating making a decision based on less than perfect information and going for it. More often than not, you will be rewarded for doing that.