Lesson From the Edge– Stop Over-Thinking When Managing Organization: Under-Thinkers Are More Productive…

When in doubt, Google it; but this unlimited access to information often leads to greater fear of over-thinking… and that in turn leads to the spinning of wheels in a seemingly inescapable progression of analysis paralysis, and all the while getting nowhere… According to Barry Schwartz; although increased choice provides opportunity to achieve objectively better results, it also leads to greater– anxiety, indecision, paralysis… A study at Stanford University suggests that over-thinking not only impedes the ability to perform cognitive tasks, but also limits creative potential as well…

But what do people mean when they say; Stop over-thinking? To anyone deep in the creative process there is nothing more frustrating than to be accused of over-thinking… According to Mike Michalowicz; it’s a paradox; success requires a clear vision– the more you can see it, the more likely you are to achieve it… But sometimes you can get too fixated on the vision, and over-think it… According to Carl Harvey; again and again message is clear: Don’t over-think. Forget perfection. Stop judging. Trust inspiration. Take action…

In the article Don’t Over-Think, Make Decision Go With It by Stephen Key writes: Organizations spend too much time weighing options. Yes, studying and debating alternative is essential for good decision-making, but at some point leaders must take action… Leaders cannot afford to obsess over everything… at some point they must shut-off the brain, and make the decision… 

The reality is over-thinking about the next move when you haven’t even taken the first move yet doesn’t make sense… Attempting to account for everything inevitably means making assumptions, and more often than not assumptions are wrong… You will never have all the answers, hence focus-on; instincts, common sense, consider risk, lessons learned… above all, don’t let fear of making mistake cause you to be inert…

In the article Over-Thinking Decisions by Robert Harris writes: The decision-making process is very basic: Many decision-makers often seek much more information than required to make a good decision… The quantity of information that can be processed by the human mind is limited… When too much information is sought and obtained, one or more of several issues can arise:

  • A delay in the decision occurs because of the time required to obtain and process the extra information. This delay could impair the effectiveness of the decision or solution…
  • Information overload occurs. In this state, so much information is available that decision-making ability actually declines because of information over-load, and it cannot be managed effectively…
  • Selective use of information, i.e.; decision-maker will choose from among all information available only those facts which support a preconceived solution or position…
  • Decision fatigue is when the decision-maker becomes– tired, confused, over-loaded… from making decisions. And often the result is carelessness or no decisions at all…
  • Important to realize that every decision affects the stream of other decisions… over-thinking just one decision can have far-reaching consequences down stream…

In the article Don’t Over-Think Do It by Phoebe Luckhurst writes: The best way to over-achieve is to under-think– those who really get ahead turn things upside-down: Under-thinking is the new over-thinking… According to Dr Michael Sinclair; the brain has evolved as the ultimate problem-solver… and it has capacity to endlessly analyze and over-think just about anything so as to protect itself from making bad decisions… the brain can actually get into its own way, a vicious cycle of over-thinking and that impedes productivity..

Indeed over-thinking leads to stagnation, whereas under-thinkers are more selective about– priorities, sharpen focus,  decisiveness… Acting on impulse is the purest type of thinking… When things get circular go with; intuition, instinct, lessons learned, gut… and work-out the decision that achieves the desired or best possible outcome… 

In the article Stop Over-Thinking by Gayle Lantz writes: In the world of ever-changing business there comes a time when over-thinking can limit an organization’s options… According to Albert Einstein; you cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking used when the problem was created… Leaders are responsible for making tough decisions… but some leaders get bogged down in their own thinking or/and over-loaded with information… and paralysis sets in… When you find yourself over-thinking? Here are few tips:

  • Put your thoughts in writing:  Capture ideas,  concerns, solutions and put them in writing: Ah clarity! No rules; just write. It can be cathartic…
  • Identify a new focus: Step-back and give yourself a break from the difficult issues, e.g.; when worried about competition, instead focus on client results… when concerned about poor performers, spend more time with peak performers…
  • Reframe the issues: Instead of thinking about losing an account… Ask; What action can you take to keep the account? Keep focus on how to get positive outcomes…
  • Find a thinking partner: Engage other people, inside/outside the organization, to discuss, debate, think through the issue… Talking with other people can help you gain new insight…

In the article Over-Thinking Gets in Way of Business by Borja Obeso writes: Keeping an eye on the prize is good advice, but be aware that the road to winning it isn’t always a straight one… Over-thinking, like over-planning, can lead to a state of inertia and ultimately gets in the way of doing business. The key to a successful organization is to find the right balance between– thinking and doing. Managing an organization is an action-oriented process often dictated by external factors, e.g.; market trends, technology, shifting priorities… Over-thinking elements of a business plan can only lead to confusion and failure… 

Sustaining an organization requires a special brew that includes; part plan, part intuition, part opportunity, and a dash of luck… Thinking is good but over-thinking leads to paralysis… Even the most critical over-thinker must learn to loosen-up and follow their instincts… Organizations must act decisively and that means– having foresight, being prudent but fearless, being agile and adaptable… and having recognition that over-thinking important issues in rapidly changing world is a death trap…

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