Decision Making 101: Using Core Values to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Article main image
Nov 14, 2012

The Disease: Analysis paralysis – becoming stuck in the thinking/researching/discussing process to the point a decision to move forward is never made.

The Symptoms: Best explained by Matt Monge in a Workplace Mojo blog post about waiting:

We wait instead of trying something. Before we’ll try that thing, we wait for there to be seventeen different case studies done on organizations that are almost identical to ours, that are in markets almost identical to ours, that have favorite colors similar to ours, and that have themselves only tried a similar idea after having completed a multitude of case studies on their own.”

Remaining stagnant is NOT an option

The Inevitable Outcome: Failure. Missed opportunities. Seeing those with a bit more courage, independence and willingness to try grab top talent, customers and ultimately market share from your organization. Sure, there’s a chance if you do try something new, you’ll miss the mark. But then you can adjust course and continue to move forward. Remaining stagnantly in place ad infinitum is not an option.

The Cure: Create parameters to make decision making – at every level of the organization – easier, consistent, and results driven. How do you do that? Look to this quote from Roy Disney (as featured in a recent Fistful of Talent blog post):

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

Your organization likely already has defined several (hopefully succinct) core values that guide how employees are expected to behave in all aspects of their work. Those values, when made part of every employee’s every day activities, become obvious guiding principles to make decisions on the fly with confidence the decision is right and proper.

Using Core Values to overcome analysis paralysis

But this is impossible if your values are nothing more than a plaque on the wall. They must become so internalized, employees up and down the chain of command simply move forward with their daily work (regardless if that work is part of the routine or a once-in-a-career decision move) with those values guiding every step.

To make those values real, employees must understand what they look like in the daily work. To achieve that, empower every employee to pause, notice, recognize and reward any other employee for living those values.

Give everyone the ability to “catch someone doing something good” in alignment with your values. If you encourage that kind of frequent, timely and – critically – values-based recognition, it doesn’t take long at all for your core values to become the decision-driving principles in your organization.

And you eliminate analysis paralysis, too.

Do you have any projects currently stuck in the endless analysis paralysis loop? What are you doing to get out of it and take action?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.