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Analysis Paralysis, It’s Beneficial for Everyone

March 24, 2022

The phrase, “analysis paralysis” has been all over social media. Like most buzz words, terms, and catchphrases, people just use it and don’t really understand the full depth and breadth of what it means. That’s where this blog post comes in handy.

We’re going back to 2004; an American psychologist who goes by the name of Barry Schwartz, first introduced the phrase analysis paralysis in his book The Paradox of Choice. In the book, Schwartz argues that eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers. Now I can’t say that I completely agree with Schwartz on his perspective of eliminating choices. What I can agree on is providing both the pros and cons of every single choice that is appropriate for the situation, especially when it comes to business and eliminating the shiny, not applicable choices.

When businesses have too many choices it can be challenging to discern which is the best choice whether that is choosing technology, hiring a new candidate, or talking about “industry best practices.” In my experience, when a business has a need for something to change it is usually apparent. I need a new ERP, CRM, MRP, or account manager. Now how that company goes about resolving the problem is another story. We all go into decision-making with good intentions such as googling, looking at competitors (don’t worry, I won’t tell) or calling a friend to see what they did. The component we fail to remember the uniqueness of your company, and that means figuring out what are your processes, what is your technology stack, and what is the root cause of the issue. These are never as apparent as one may think. Now I will say this, and I am firm on it. This is not the time to assume you need a new piece of technology and go with the most popular choice. It may very well be a great choice, but it may not be the right one for you. There are so many factors one needs to think about before making a purchase or hiring or firing human capital. You must do your work first.

When I refer to “work,” I mean mapping out your processes which can be easier said than done. Look at hidden issues like Shadow IT, and documents saved on local drives or desktops. I’m encouraging you to get the full picture of your current state and not gather executives in a room to decide in a week or even a day. It’s a recipe for disaster. One can experience Analysis Paralysis when they are making a big decision without having all the information. We need to compare what will address the issues, the cost, intergrade-ability, upgrading, longevity – just to name a few. In some cases, it’s not so much the cost as it is the cost in time, bandwidth, or scalability over time. I believe analysis paralysis is where you can really benefit from an expert helping you with facts, data, process mapping, and the rest of the logistics that go into solving the problem. It means spending a little to save a lot of time and money.