The center snaps the ball. The quarterback drops back for the pass. How long does he have to decide what to do with that ball?
On average, he has three seconds to get the ball to the right receiver. Imagine that. After that, he’s likely to end up on the ground.
Now imagine the quarterback getting up and whining, “I didn’t have enough information to make a decision! Lemme do that over.”
Fat chance. He made a decision, all right. Indecision is a decision to do nothing. And the consequences can be huge.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in—business is about making decisions. But sometimes we find ourselves paralyzed, unable to make a decision for fear of making the wrong one. So we say we’re “waiting for more data” or “crunching the numbers” before we decide.
It’s important to be well informed. But there’s always more information to be had, and there comes a time when the lack of a decision begins to impact the outcome. At that point, indecision is a decision. It’s the decision to do nothing.
For every project, give yourself a timeline not just for the outcome, but for the decision making process that leads to that outcome. Say, “By November 14, the budget will be set. By November 21, all design specs will be in place.” Then hold yourself to those project benchmarks. Make a decision and keep things moving.