03 November 2005

Do you suffer from analysis paralysis?

You are contemplating a new undertaking.

It could be a new product you're about to launch. It could be a change initiative at your company. It might be related to implementing a new technology solution or making a big purchase.

At any rate, you're not ready to take the plunge just yet. You haven't quite completed your plan. You need more information. More specifications, more analysis, another focus group. You haven't finished your analysis of the competitive landscape.

When will you be ready to start? It's hard to say. These things take time, and you wouldn't want to make a mistake.

It's time to face it: you may be suffering from analysis paralysis -- a slow, creeping disease that's contagious and tends to spread fast in many companies. It's deceptive as well; at first it causes only stagnation, but once it spreads to the entire company, it usually results in death.

People or companies that suffer from analysis paralysis use the remote dream of some unrealistic, perfect future state to avoid taking action in the here-and-now. It's a holding action. Nothing moves or changes, and therefore no growth occurs.

There's no way around it: growth involves discomfort and pain. No pain, no growth. You won't start growing -- and learning -- until you start doing things. You don't know what you don't know, and no amount of analysis will ever tell you.

Here's a golden rule of new undertakings:

You won't know what you're doing till you already did it.

When you start doing things you'll make mistakes. Reality is messy: deal with it. The world is full of people who sit on the sidelines and analyze; they are the spectators of life, the analysts, the theoreticians and the critics.

Don't be one of them. Get out on the playing field. Jump in and play. Get dirty, make mistakes, have fun!

Stop analyzing, start doing and join the game. You don't need to start by taking major risks or huge gambles; you can always start small.

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