Getting better information makes for the more correct decisions.
Yet the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ sometimes means that we use collating information and all sorts of other seemingly completely valid tactics as a good excuse for being slow to decide.
In a management role, procrastination can seriously hold back progress and demotivate individuals and teams who, full of innovation and drive to move forward, get frustrated and confused when action is held up.
There are a number of steps that will help the procrastinating manager.
Firstly, recognise it is a good and reasonable defence mechanism, which relates to the things which might have occurred in the past.
A hurried decision which might have had an unsatisfactory and upsetting result.It is part of your character and maybe just a little too strong a behaviour for those who are around you.
It can often be a great asset if you are surrounded by ‘gung-ho’ types who just go for things – there is value in caution and it is all relative!
Secondly, get real! Many of the ‘Fear’ writings, such as ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers and ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ by Dale Carnegie, extol the virtues of realistically assessing the potential downsides.
Often, asking yourself ‘What is the worst that could possibly happen here?’, gets you able to see how unlikely your decision is to be life-threatening. So have a think and be realistic – then do it!
Third and finally, consider the effects of putting off decisions. How much harm does it do to the organisation, your nearby people and above all you, as decisions lie there at the back of your mind, unmade?
The result is most often not the negative outcome that your worst fears suggest, but the subliminal worry that NOT having made the decision, i.e. it is still to be worried over, is often much, much worse when added up than the decision itself!
So, in most cases, a good chunk of information, weigh up the potential downsides and then, JDI.
“Just Do It works a treat!”
As an example, I once, in my early management days, worked with a middle manager who became a real challenge, with his behaviour and attitudes – even I was intimidated by him!
It took me 18 months of fear of confrontation and worry to tackle him about it – the evidence was never really that strong – I told myself…
The interview took an hour, during which time he completely apologised for his behaviour.
He had not realised that the way he was experienced by others was so damaging.
Once pointed out, he accessed feedback regularly on those days when he was ‘off on one’, and he encouraged his supporters to bring him down to earth quickly.
I took 18 months worrying about that conversation.
Looking back, I learnt that it is far better to get these things aired early on, for everyone.
And never once has this backfired on me since.