Over-analysis results in under-delivery. When our brains become overloaded with too many alternatives or too much detail, we can’t move forward. Lifting from the detail releases capacity for decision-making: an essential leadership skill.

If you (or someone you lead) suffer from Analysis Paralysis, your team will be taking a productivity hit, and you may be feeling undue stress and pressure. While your inner intention may be to produce a quality outcome, your external behaviour could be contributing to a prevailing perception of information over action.

Try these tips to reduce Analysis Paralysis: 

  1. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Get comfortable with ‘near enough is good enough’. Practise this mindset on things that are less important or lower risk.
  1. Reduce overwhelm. When you find yourself overwhelmed with choice and possibility, focus on the first step only and take that action.
  1. Get comfortable with ambiguity. How can your past experience help you fill in the missing pieces to make a quick decision?
  1. Increase action. Action consolidates insights. Take action and the insights will develop progressively.
  1. Reduce your detail focus. List the tasks you do regularly. Rank them in order of the need for high to low quality/thoroughness. Record the amount of time you typically spend on these tasks. How could you to cut these times in half?
  1. Ensure clear objectives. What is the purpose of making this decision? Why does this decision matter? Keep this top of mind as you analyse and decide.
  1. Remember the cost of delay. When, in the past, have you taken so long to decide that you missed the opportunity? If you could have decided based on your first hunch, how would your decision differ? How can you practise doing more of this?

The tips that resonate most for you will depend on the cause of your Analysis Paralysis. Don’t spend too long thinking about which tip—just take action!


Have an extraordinary day


Note: This blog is based on my latest book, Developing Direct Reports: Taking the guesswork out of leading leaders. Get the book to learn how to support leaders who suffer from Analysis Paralysis, as well as 11 other leadership derailers.


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