The economic cost of indecision in any App Business

There are many ingredients that make someone successful.

And there are many things that make a great leader.

One particular trait that is important to both of these is Decisiveness.

You see, most people aren’t decisive, they hem and they haw.

Or as I like to say, they err, they ahh, they hmm, and they ummm…. Repeatedly!

But you know what, lack of decisiveness is a liability – one that can be measured on an economic scale.

“Really?… how does that work?”

Well, perhaps a story can best illustrate this :).

By the way, this is very loosely based from a true story. ^^

The economic cost of indecision

You see, there was this decision that needed to be made on a very large undertaking that would solve a costly problem the English government had right after World War 2.

Unfortunately there were multiple ways they could do this and they weren’t sure which was the best path to take.

So, as any government would do – they put together a committee.

Now, this committee was filled with some of the smartest people in the world, the best of the best!

They pored over the data, spent nights going over the charts – with mugs of coffee in hand.

They debated back and forth on the pros and cons of all the paths they could take.

As soon as one possible strategy started gaining dominance, some bright spark would rally some of his colleagues and bemoan the negatives of it and soon the committee was back to square one.

After 10 years of this, they had settled on two possible solutions.

But with no clear winner still to be found :(.

Out of desperation, they finally decided to ‘pass the buck’, and get someone else to make the decision.

The person they chose was a famous English military general that had been bestowed many commendations over the course of his career.

With a unified goal in mind, the committee sent over its delegates to go meet with the general.

The delegates arrive

Six delegates show up at the army barracks and sit down with the general in the meeting room to go over the two possible (and very detailed!) solutions to the problem.

They then proceed to spend the next six hours going over all the data, the pros, the cons and everything in between about each possible solution.

As the sun was going down, with their presentation finished, they slump into their chairs and look expectantly towards the general.

He slowly stands up from his chair, indicates towards option one and says “Option one is the correct choice”.

Smiling, and thanking the General, the delegates rush back to their team to tell them the good news.

Finally the correct path has been chosen and they can move on with implementing the solution.

But as with any great story, there was more to it than just that ;).

The adjutant questions the decision

Back at the General’s HQ, just as the delegates have left, the General’s adjutant steps forward from the back of the room and asks the General for permission to speak candidly.

He and the General have known each other for a long time now and the General nods his head to allow his Adjutant to say what’s on his mind.

“Sir, how could you have made that decision?,” he exclaimed exasperatedly.

“I mean, I know for a fact that you didn’t understand even half of the stuff they were saying. Hell, I barely understood even a small portion, it was just too complex.”

“So based on that, how on earth could you have told those poor people to pick option one when they’ve been discussing this for years!”

The General waits for the adjutant to calm down, smiles, and then replies, “I just did them a great favour.”

“You see, they’ve been at this for ten years and still haven’t made a decision.”

“Meanwhile, the problem that they are trying to solve just sits there with no progress being made on it.”

“Yes, option two could perhaps have been the better choice.”

“But they are smart people, and at least now they can begin to work on the solution.”

“I’m confident that even if option two really is the best option then they will naturally switch over to it as they progress.”

“And even better, as they work on the problem itself, they are going to find new problems that they hadn’t seen before. “

“And these new problems will also be solved, and pretty soon they will reach the original outcome they were after when the committee was first formed years ago.”

“The same is true on the battlefield, you have to look at all the options available, pick one with certainty and instil that certainty into your team as they go out and execute.”

“Even if it wasn’t the best option, a team that is focused on the outcome will adapt as time progresses to reach their outcome.”

“Which is a much better option than no option at all.”

“That’s why I’m where I am today – I have the ability to make decisions.”

Most of us are weak at making decisions 🙁

It’s interesting, but as just mentioned, most people are weak at this.

What about you?

Are you sitting on a decision that needs to be made?

Maybe one that has been put off for a long time?

Have a good think about what the economic cost if this really is.

Perhaps you are thinking about the different ways you could go about it, and the potential risks/consequences of each decision?

An endless back and forth that’s costing you time, money and your sanity :(.

To cut a long story short, pick one!

It doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong one, coz at least now you’ll be growing and making progress.

If there is still some fear, then check out my post on ‘failure’ and why I personally believe failure rocks! 😉


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