At ASE’s Annual Summit last Wednesday we had the pleasure to hear keynote speaker, Michael Veltri, speak. He asked the audience, “What decisions are you delaying that might be holding you back?” This struck a chord with me and reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Benjamin Franklin, “Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Leaders make decisions all day long. I think that today, some decisions are harder to make than they may have been years ago. With Google at our fingertips we can endlessly research and overanalyze any topic. It’s important to not agonize over a tough decision for too long, because during that time frame you are paralyzed and being held back. In Veltri’s book he refers to this as “analysis paralysis.” Veltri gave a great example of this using a grenade as an analogy. When holding a grenade you either throw it or are stuck holding onto to it for the rest of your life. While holding onto it, you are paralyzed in indecision. I’ve experienced this personally from time to time.
As a leader I make decisions all day long, and when I get home each night I don’t want to make any more decisions. I’m sure many of you feel the same way! Sometimes even deciding what’s for dinner seems too much to ask. In Veltri’s book he describes this as “decision fatigue”, which is the inability to make good decisions as the day progresses. He suggests planning your most important decisions for the beginning of the day. Leave the menial decisions for later.
During Veltri’s presentation he talked about decision making traps that hold people back and how to avoid them. He specifically discussed what he calls The Day Old Milk Trap.
Trap - The Day Old Milk Trap
This trap uses the analogy of tasting sour milk. If you’ve ever made the mistake of drinking sour milk, you were likely turned off from milk for some time and were afraid to drink it in the future even if you knew it was a fresh jug. The Day Old Milk Trap is when people let their past influence their present. When falling into this trap, one might say, “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.”
Solution - The Pike Test
Veltri calls his solution for the Day Old Milk Trap the Pike Test. He suggests asking yourself and your team, “What would have to be true for this option to be the best choice?” Then he says to “If-Then” your answer to death. For example, “If we decide to offer this technology, then the following needs to be true…” While going through the “If-Then” scenarios, do not allow what’s known as the “Pike Syndrome” to hinder you. The “Pike Syndrome” is when we allow biases, instincts, and past experiences to cloud our judgment.
What decisions are you holding back on? Is there a big decision you’ve been holding off on making? Don’t let a lingering decision hold you back. Take the time to clear your mind, think it through logically, and then make the decision and move on. This will allow you to make even better daily business and personal decisions since you will be free of the “analysis paralysis.”
If you’d like to read more on this topic, you can purchase Michael Veltri’s book, The Mushin Way to Peak Performance at https://michaelveltri.com/the-mushin-way-book.