Analysis of Paralysis

Fast Company has a good column by Chip and Dan Heath about keeping your strategy simple. With the multitude of options open to any company, paralysis can occur if you don't have some sort of strategic goals that help you make decisions. Simplicity leads to action, and a way out of the paralysis. Here is one example from the column.

Even a one-liner can ease paralysis. The scrappy Savings & Loans Credit Union in Adelaide, Australia, has an internal strategic motto: "We don't want to be first but we sure as hell don't want to be third." The strategy is to stand back and let the first mover take the risk and grab the glory of innovation, then come in right behind and make a copy that's crisper than the original. The lessons for employees are clear. Constantly scan the environment for good ideas. Don't be first, be best. Look for new employees who are good, quick executors, not creative pioneers. And reserve the incentives for people who are improvers, not inventors.

A simple strategy can resolve decision paralysis. And it doesn't have to be simpleminded to do the trick.

This article hit home, and I think it's a great argument against the parallel entrepreneurship path.

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  • As a fortune cookie once told me…

    Many a false step is made by standing still.

    Sometimes even one step gets you moving in the right direction.

  • Good post, Rob. That’s a great article. My vote for the best part is “The subtext is often, “Keep it simple, because your people are stupid.” But you don’t need to embrace simplicity just so your people can comprehend your message. The point of simplicity is more fundamental: Simplicity allows people to act.”