Written by Anthony Demangone
I've always loved the phrase that serves as the title of this post. Fish, or cut bait.
As a young attorney, I learned a number of fantastic lessons from men and women far more intelligent than I. One of them was from my dear friend, Manesh Rath.
Manesh was the a big fan of the boomerang. His theory was that many attorneys suffered from over-analysis. Clients wanted a reasonably clear answer to basic questions, most of the time. They rarely wanted an attorney to spend 100 hours and $35,000 of billables to research every conceivably-possible outcome to a given situations. Manesh would research furiously, analyze intensely, and then call the client quickly with what he found. They loved the fact that he pulled the trigger on his analysis quickly. But he told them that greater clarity could be had, but only with more time and billable hours.
I have tried to carry that with me into my new role at NAFCU, but it isn't always easy. Colleagues want decisions that help clarify their job, role, and expectations. Letting issues linger too long creates a drag on efficiency and morale. I'm not saying to ignore due diligence and research. But I am saying that at some point, extra analysis can begin to become less valuable. Rarely will analysis lead to a bullet-proof, you can't go wrong, decison.
If you don't want to take my words, perhaps you will listen to Dan Rockwell. In a post on common new leader screw ups, he underscores the following gaffe:
"Not making decisions. Listen, investigate, seek suggestions, but whatever you do, decide."
Perhaps we sometimes fear making a decision because of the act's finality. But Seth Godin points out that finality rarely rears its ugly head. He writes the following:
"Just about every choice you make with your project and your career, though, doesn't last forever. And the benefit of taking a risk is significantly higher than it is with a tattoo. A landing page, a pricing move, a bit of copy--they don't last much more than a day, never mind a lifetime. Higher benefits, lower risk, what are you waiting for?
So go ahead and act as if your decisions are temporary. Because they are. Be bold, make mistakes, learn a lesson and fix what doesn't work. No sweat, no need to hyperventilate."
There you have it. Fish, or cut bait. Use due diligence. Do your homework. But by all means, decide. Make a choice. It will provide clairty, efficiencies, and a new direction.
And it if doesn't work out, there's no rule that says you can't tack back into a new direction.