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"On My Mind" - Analysis Paralysis!

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 2, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

CEdMA is off to a great start for 2015 after having some fabulous wins in 2014: two content rich conferences, a great webinar, and some energetic and innovative contributions for our marketing, membership campaigns, SIGs, and web site.  Thank you to all who contributed!

As most, not all, of us enter 2015, we are starting a new budget year. This has meant massive analysis and planning around trends, projected growth, alignment with corporate and services  goals, and targets for the business. 

On my mind the most during this process has been the analysis piece – an important function, but I see and hear folks getting bogged down in it.  Literally, the “analysis paralysis” that prevents definitive actions and execution is what consumes the bulk of the planning time.

Wikipedia provides some great definitions and descriptions of this:

Analysis paralysis or paralysis of analysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution.

WiseGeek published an article in early December, 2014, with this explanation:

Analysis paralysis is the condition where people become so caught up in planning that they can't bring themselves to actually act on their plans. This usually comes from a fear of what might happen if there is a mistake. Dealing with analysis paralysis is generally a process of getting rid of the fear or finding a way to live with it. Usually, people suffer from this problem when facing major decisions that could have long-term consequences, but some people may even have trouble making small decisions that don't matter that much.

The important points made by both are that action does not occur, even though the analysis might point to clear action. And frequently, this results from a fear of making a mistake.

My philosophy:  we all have to make mistakes in order to learn, grow, and find new and productive ways to operate, whether for ourselves, our team members, or our business. So, my personal recommendations for the best mix of planning and executing on anything new are:

  • 15% analysis of issues, problems, things to change

  • 35% design and develop the solution

  • 40% test and execute on the solution, giving yourself time for results

  • 10% measure results against goals,  and correct where needed

I’d be interested in any of your perspectives on this.  But the above formula has helped me lots!

Happy New Year!

Jesse Finn, President, CEdMA

Vice President, Global Education and Learning, Marketo, Inc.

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