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4 ways to avoid analysis paralysis

Look at your decisions to see how they match up with your farm business goals.

I tend to overanalyze opportunities that come up and major decisions that I need to make. Sometimes I miss out on opportunities because I don’t take action. Any suggestions? – B.E., Miss.

Many business leaders and farm owners encounter this situation. On one hand, it’s good because we’re being logical and responsible about running our business. We’re driven to think through problems carefully – that’s not everybody’s natural reaction, but it’s a skill many farm leaders bring to the table.

When your tendency is to overanalyze, here are some steps to help you utilize that as a strength without letting it hold you back.

  • Recognize that analysis is a critical part of decision-making. Without analysis, we risk acting on everything, or saying no to everything.
  • Understand that analysis is simply a part of the decision-making process. We must take the mindset that we only need to get to about 70-80% of a full understanding. This is where some can go off the rails – we may feel we need to get to at least 95% of knowing the facts and understanding the elements. But the time we must invest to get from 75% to 95% is extreme. Within that window, we can miss out on the opportunity altogether, as you’ve seen.
  • Work to get an idea of what it feels like to get to about 75% of an understanding. Then move on to the next step of the process: making a judgment call. The best way to make that call is by viewing it alongside your goals: What am I working to create and achieve? Also, look at the decision while considering your values: What do I hold as being important?
  • The final step is to take action. Once we make a decision, we must determine what we’re doing to do, and then execute that action. All four steps are key parts of the decision-making process. Understanding this process can help us keep from getting “stuck” in the analysis phase.
--Frye is president and CEO of Water Street Solutions.
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