Deciding without enough information

One of my biggest problems as a manager, is that I love information. Give me loads and loads of data and I am a happy man. This means that it is very hard for me to decide. I always look for more information.

I found out about this after reading The five temptations of a CEO, (I really liked the book, it is short and readable). My temptation was temptation #3:

The temptation to choose certainty over clarity

Many chief executives do not want to act until they are certain of the outcome.

This inactivity can be very detrimental to a company. The goal should be clear, not certain

I had to learn how to make choices even if I am not certain.

Lets take a look at the timeline of a decision:


The first stage is to start gathering data. In this stage everything is ok. The second stage is trying to make a decision. This stage is really frustrating as there is no data left to gather and we feel that we have to make a choice but just don’t know how. After some time we do choose, and once we really choose, we are not frustrated any more.

The point to understand here is that nothing happens in the frustration stage except being frustrated, we have to try and shorten that time to nothing.

Here is how I chose my scooter. I wanted a scooter, so my dilemma was, what scooter to choose. I talk to some friends, looked it up on the internet went to local shops and took some test rides. At this stage I have already gather all the data I needed. This stage was fun as I was learning.
The next stage was really bad, I had to make the choice. I went over the data I had again and again for 2 week, but nothing helped. I was really frustrated and the people around me where fed up with my indecision.

After 2 weeks, I just went to the shops again, took the bikes for another ride, and purchased the bike that I felt the best with. It was just a feeling, but I made a decision, it was great to have made the decision, I was happy again and now I have a new scooter to ride.

Remember, nothing happens in the confusion stage except being confused.

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