You can be thorough, methodical, systematic – whichever word you choose – but if you overdo it, it may hurt you. Of course, you need to be disciplined to obtain the necessary information to make a decision, but often the incremental time analyzing isn’t going to give you that much more information.
+ Through over-analysis, you may miss the point, as aptly described by the cliché of not seeing the forest through the trees.
+ You may miss a deadline. This occurs when you spend a disproportionate amount of time on the analysis and then don’t have enough time to actually complete the task at hand.
+ Perhaps worst of all, you may miss opportunities. If you spend too much time analyzing, the world can pass you by.
How do you overcome “analysis paralysis”? This isn’t easy to answer, because if you’re prone to this behavior, you’ve probably been doing it for most of your career. That said, here are some tips:
+ Set a time limit for analysis, and don’t exceed it.
+ Discuss all aspects of the issue at hand with a colleague or trusted advisor. If no additional viewpoints arise, move forward.
+ Envision how, if at all, things will change as a result of your decision.
One last critical point for leaders: If your staff perceives that you suffer from analysis paralysis, they may inadvertently avoid asking for help or conveying important information. As a result, they may miss something key, which could be counterproductive or detrimental.