How to avoid analysis paralysis & spur business growth during COVID-19

- April 22, 2020 4 MIN READ

In these unprecedented times, strong execution must be top priority for all businesses. Here’s why. Businesses that have already executed with speed and pivoted are either reaping the rewards or have taken measures to reduce the impact on their business, writes Abbie White, business growth expert and founder of The Execution Zone.

Additionally, these businesses are stepping themselves up for the bounce back.

We are even seeing some inspiring collaborations and innovation emerging from businesses who are acting swiftly. Even those few businesses who are experiencing high growth are under pressure to execute fast.

So, what can you do today, to avoid an “analysis paralysis”?

Excessive planning and strategising won’t work as things are changing by the day and that strategic plan will be out of date by the time it is finished.

This does not mean, do not plan. It means now isn’t the time to overthink it or wait until the plan is perfect in order to execute.

Nobody has all the answers or all of the information, it is completely unclear how long this situation will continue therefore we have to act based on the information we have today.

How to avoid analysis paralysis:

Take the first step

Things can feel very overwhelming at the moment and we can get stuck in procrastination or perfectionism. There’s no time for that unfortunately so take a leaf out of Tony Robbins book, “Never leave the site of a goal without first taking some form of positive action towards its attainment” and just take the first step today.

I often find even the smallest of steps creates momentum, which is the secret to execution. If you’re not sure where to start with a pivot, put yourself in the shoes of your customer and ask what do they need most from you right now and then take your first step towards this. The rest will follow.

Small steps lead to small wins and creates momentum, which is paramount to successful execution.

What’s the alternative?  

No action is often worse than the wrong action. If you do nothing, you stay exactly where you are which for many is not sustainable.

Ask yourself these 4 simple questions to plan your next move:

  • What happens if I do nothing? How long can we sustain this?
  • What is an alternative?
  • What is the next best thing I can do?
  • What is the opportunity if the alternative works?

Typically, we will find nothing is not a desirable option leaving the alternatives as our best next move. This simple process provides clarity to move forward.

Understand how you make decisions and what you need in order to move forward?

For me, I’m a talker. I know I need to talk it over with my mentor and then I’m off executing my plan. For others they need more detailed information. If you’re in analysis paralysis understand “what do I need in order to make this decision”.

If it is more information, write down any reservations or questions and decide how and who could answer them by when. Give yourself a deadline to gather the information and make a decision which will drive urgency.

If you need an accountability buddy ask a mentor or friend.  I’ve found making myself publicly accountable ensures I execute on my commitments.

Avoid the overwhelm with focus

With so much to do and so many options, feeling overwhelmed can be a real barrier to execution. The key is to focus on the wildly important and the things you influence which will move the needle.

Research has proven focusing on 2-3 goals at most is the secret to successful execution so don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals.  (Source: 4 Disciplines of Execution). 

If you have a team, ensure your team are clear on the goals and how they can contribute.

Pareto Principle

A classic but very relevant methodology is the pareto principle which is more commonly known as the 80/20 rule.  With most of us having more limited budget, resources and for some limited time focus on the 20 per cent of activities that will drive the 80 per cent of your results.

I do this via a process of start, stop, keep doing. I review what is and isn’t working at this point and review what is yielding the best results for us.

Stop: What isn’t working or delivering results

Start: Something new that you believe will deliver at this point

Keep doing: Double down on the things which are working well

This is a simple but powerful tool to kick paralysis analysis to the curb, as the exercise makes it very clear what is and isn’t working and where to go from here. 

Break it down:

 To avoid analysis paralysis, break down activities into tasks with actions, owners, and deadlines. Many pivots seem like a beast and causes enormous overwhelm of where do we even start. Consider using a tool such as Asana or Trello to project manage and strength your execution.

This approach breaks down a ‘chunky project’ into bite size chunks you can swallow. It also allows us to look at tasks that we may be able to delegate to others and which tasks to prioritise.

In these uncertain times, it is vital for business owners and managers to lead their teams with efficiency and focus. Although it is a completely different skillset, from building a strategy to effectively executing it, with these tips, you’ll be able to take action today and not only survive but thrive.

The Execution Zone are offering a free membership for all Australian businesses with resources to manage the COVID-19 crisis. Please visit TheExecutionZone.com or Instagram @TheExecutionZone for more information.


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