Decisions, Decisions…

by Bill Amirault

One of the trends we’ve noticed in the past 2 years, likely resulting from the economic slowdown, is a muuuuccchhhh more deliberate approach to making decisions.   Some individuals and companies are naturally more deliberate than others, but everyone seems to have shifted into a time warp.  What used to be decided in a meeting, or an afternoon, or even a few days now seems to take weeks, months, and more. Why???

Pick your poison — tight budgets, not enough information, analysis paralysis, fear of making a mistake that might have more consequences than the initial decision itself, or just because we don’t have to decide now.  But, there are consequences and opportunity costs when keeping your finger off the trigger, because “not to decide is to decide”.   If you or your company wait too long, the window of opportunity can and will change, shift or disappear altogether.

How many viable programs, proposals, initiatives, ventures, etc. have you or your company put on the sidelines “just because”?  Is one of your competitors taking advantage of an opportunity you may not be and gaining on you in the process?   If you don’t take the necessary step(s) that can positively impact your business, someone else will.

Some years ago, a mentor put the following adage in my ear — “fail forward fast”.   That’s just as relevant today.   Clearly it’s important to create every possible assurance that a project will be successful, but if it isn’t, find that out as quickly as possible.

In pharmaceuticals there is a huge demand from researchers for software and other protocols that will help them weed out molecules that won’t pass Phase II or III clinical tests. Why? Because it costs between $0.5-1.0B (that’s Billion with a “B”) and 10-12 years to gain approval for a specific indication. If a company can “fail forward fast” they’ll be better off in the long run because the product(s) or project(s) that stick will be better – and so will you.

So dust off that category expansion proposal or new product initiative you’ve been holding on to, and make it happen.  It may be the next iPod…

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