Analysis Paralysis

Combat Analysis Paralysis and Take the Next Logical Step

Posted on Posted in Culture

Taking action, any action, is sometimes the best way to combat analysis paralysis.  Analysis paralysis is a term I first heard in grad school and then when working with six sigma project teams as a green belt in training.  The basic premise is that teams can get lost in the following loop:

  1. ask a question
  2. analyze the data
  3. draw conclusion from the data showing
  4. second guess the conclusion and perform additional analysis

By being stuck in a loop, they enter analysis paralysis.  They are unable to make a decision to move forward.

Recently, I was having a conversation with a colleague who had just made the decision to take a significant first step (or series of steps) to realize a dream of his he had been contemplating for a while.  The way he described it was (paraphrasing), “I had to act.  2017 had to be the year that I either moved forward with this idea or let it go.”

Well, who wants to let go of their dreams?  That seems a little demoralizing.

Fortunately, he took action.

On a much smaller scale, this is the same type of conversation I have with process teams at times.  There is a clear need to make a change to a process.  The data has been analyzed and a conclusion has been made.  The next step is to act.  Sometimes, this is the hardest part, and it’ll manifest itself when the team is putting together its action plan.

When I encounter this, I ask the team to think of the next logical step that needs to be taken to further the goal.  This takes the daunting task of reaching the end goal and replaces it with “baby-steps” that all add up to the desired outcome anyway.

So, if you’re reading this, and you’ve had an issue, any issue, that has weighed on your mind for far too long without taking any action, there is no time like the present.  Identify the next logical step to further your goal, and get into action.  It works…It really does.