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Make the damn call!

Dilemmas

Failing to decide doesn’t avoid failure

I am beginning to think that some parts of the business population have been struck down with a virulent virus known as “paralysis by analysis”. Symptoms of the condition include: sweaty palms, lack of eye contact, incoherent written communication and indecision.


It’s amazing that we now have access to more decision-enabling tools than ever, but indecision reigns supreme. We can research any topic, any time, in any place with the tap of a screen or keyboard. We have productivity apps and advice columns to help clear our heads so we can create more time to do more stuff, but it seems across the board everyone is still flat out and too busy.

When was the last time you needed someone to make the call and they did? No hesitation, no prevarication. They gathered the info they needed, spoke to the subject matter experts, and made a decision.

Vanity Fair published an interview in 2012 with US President, Barack Obama, focused on the decision to send a team of Navy SEALS to take Osama Bin Laden from his compound in Pakistan. During the conversation Obama was asked about how he made such a huge decision – thankfully not many of us are regularly faced with life-or-death decisions.

Obama summed it up by saying:

“One of the things you learn as president is you’re always dealing with probabilities… No issue comes to my desk that is perfectly solvable. No issue comes to my desk where there’s 100 percent confidence that this is the right thing to do. Because if people were absolutely certain then it would have been decided by someone else.”

Like I said, very few of us will ever be making such critical decisions, but think about his attitude. It’s the same for anyone in a position where you have to make the call. If the decision was easy or obvious, someone would have already made it. The issues that come to us do not have 100 percent certainty attached to them.

So just make the call. Gather intelligence, listen, look at the problem from all sides, understand the risks and then make the call. Don’t delay, prevaricate or put it off. If it’s your call – make it!

Failure to make a decision has far worse implications than making a decision which fails. Failure to take a stand paralyses organisations and teams, confuses everyone about where you stand and what you stand for, costs time and money, and does nothing to manage risk. It simply prolongs the pain and stretches cost and resources.

So just make the call… There you go, that wasn’t so hard, was it!

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