How can an investor conquer analysis paralysis?

Have you ever been in a situation where there is no progress because things keep getting stuck in the analysis? If any of the following examples sound familiar to you, then you have witnessed analysis paralysis:

  • As an investor, you have been observing a geographical market and trying to invest there for years. But, you are still in the analysis mode without taking any action.
  • Maybe you are a sponsor who has to develop a digital presence and finalize a vendor in 3 months. It is month 6 and you’re still considering the pros and cons.
  • Your team in a large enterprise had to gather investment and related data, clean it, and load it into a new system. But, the data rules and their merits are still being “validated”.
  • You are doing investment research and you should produce a final recommendation in a month. Alas, you’re still collecting and analyzing data after a couple of months.

Why does analysis paralysis happen?

Most investors realize that analysis paralysis can cause major delays and even make them lose deals. But then, why does it continue to happen and why do we let that happen? It usually happens due to one or more of the following:

  • Sometimes we try to gain consensus from ALL (say, business partners or family) involved. A variant of this is the pursuit of elusive perfection.
  • Unfortunately, in some cases, we are (a) afraid to make decisions or (b) don’t know how to make decisions or (c) are waiting for someone else to make the decisions.
  • There are instances when we are unable to influence, nudge, or negotiate to the outcome desired, especially with various personality types involved.
  • We “kick the can” as much as possible as there are no consequences or incentives to make timely decisions.

How to conquer analysis paralysis?

How do we conquer analysis paralysis then? A good part of the solution comes from changing individual or team behaviors. You can conquer analysis paralysis by following these guidelines:

Action

The best antidote to analysis paralysis is taking action. Be careful to work within the permissible confines of your beliefs or principles.

Make decision making part of the process

Adopt a work approach that has decision making embedded. For e.g. follow this common approach – define the problem statement, propose 3-4 options, evaluate the pros, and cons, and come up with a recommendation.

Don’t aim for perfection

Realize that there is NO perfect product or technology. Perfect quality is a myth and definitely not attainable in a given timeline. Don’t get caught up in continuous improvement to get to perfection.

Use resources, time, or money pressure in your favor

When we are up against time, resources, and money, it forces us to make decisions or act. We should reiterate to ourselves how lack of decisions negatively impacts the outcome. For e.g. loss of a deal.

Takeaways

If you are facing “analysis paralysis” in any of your endeavors, you have to first acknowledge it. It saps energy, wastes time, reduces morale, and usually benefits no one – not even the procrastinators. Only when you acknowledge it can you address it. By understanding the reasons and taking steps to resolve the analysis paralysis using some techniques outlined in this article. Time to put this into action!