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Published:August 13th, 2009 11:39 EST
Paralysis By Analysis

Paralysis By Analysis

By Dan Goldberg

Not long ago I was faced with a situation that illustrated how important research is and yet how debilitating it`s over dependence can become.


An organization had asked me to become involved in its growth process. Their need for revenue enhancement was extremely important. A number of opportunities were presented to the organization that could build revenue as well as its image. The project leader requested more information, and more information, and more information.


Now I`m not saying that research is unimportant. In fact to the contrary, I believe it is a must. However, unless you`re designing a nuclear reactor, engineering a bridge or building some other precision dependent project, waiting until you have every bit of information can be a critical mistake. Usually the gathering of this needed " research is someone`s, usually the team leader, subjective opinion anyway. Don`t let it go on without voicing your feelings.


There are amongst us, an entire category of individuals, who will research a project to death or at least until the opportunity has past.


I always like to ask why the information is necessary. If you get a reasonable answer then perhaps its should continue. Yet more often than not it`s because the team or project leader is part of that critical analysis " group.


These or the folks who have to learn that waiting until they feel that everything is perfect may cost the company dearly. If you or someone you know is a member of that group I must remind you of that old saying, on the whole, excellence is attainable, perfection is not. "


Here`s the way I suggest you approach the critical analyst " in a group meeting.


Ask for a review of the current data to see whether or not there is enough information to derive at a decision. Poll the group, ask them to review the information, which by the way, they should have gotten before the meeting, and ask for a vote. The vote may be final or the group may make a tentative decision to approve or reject the project based on additional data.


By using the tentative vote method you can save valuable time and prevent stagnation.


Data can be sent by fax or e-mail and vote can be cast on or by a specific date.


Knowing the history of the group also helps in understanding the need for information.


The above organization was, for years, under the leadership of someone who lead by devotion to emotion ". This is to some degree, the opposite of paralysis by analysis ".


The former leader would present favorite projects with unbridled emotion without any real sense of the need for research. The leader would go on and on about how great it was and how it would be incomprehensible not to approve this or that.


The leader looked at every vote or question as a personal approval or rejection.

This couldn`t have been further from the truth.


Yet by carrying on about the need for each project without any substantive data to back it up projects would drag on or be rammed through to the dismay of the organization and it`s budgetary constraints.


With the previous leader in mind I could see how the pendulum hang swung in the opposite direction. However, reality is somewhere in the middle.


Research and data are absolutely necessary as is the emotional desire to want to show the need for any project to succeed. It`s the amount of each that should be monitored.


By coupling the two, in the proper doses, it`s a tough act to beat providing the project makes sense.


Most of all realize that if you don`t speak up and ask why more data is needed or why no data is present you, the project and your organization may well be stalled at the dock or out to sea without a rudder.


Dan Goldberg is a keynote speaker and the President of Dan Goldberg Consulting, L.L.C. a training, coaching and business development firm located in the Philadelphia, PA area. He is the author of the book Lighten Up and Lead, " co-author (with Don Martin) of the book The Entrepreneur`s Guide to Successful Leadership, " and author of The Six Steps To Solid Sales Success " and The Seven Elements of Successful Management " programs and the audio tape Growing A Successful Business ". You can contact him at, visit his website at or reach him at (215) 233-5352