We’ve all had difficult problems to deal with that required a thoughtful resolution. This is true in our personal lives as well as our professional lives. Unfortunately there is a fine line between thoughtful and procrastination. At times, many of us cross that line.
So where do we draw that line and what is the difference? Many issues require serious thought. At the same time, many issues do not! The difference between issues that require thought and issues that don’t is the impact or consequences of making a bad decision. If the downside consequences are minor, then taking a lot of time to think through this type of issue is procrastination. Of course the first items to think through are the consequences or risk factors. Once you determine that they are minor, move on.
This is true for almost everything in life. Deciding who to marry or whether or not to have a child are not small decisions as they carry big risks and have major consequences. Unfortunately, for these life changing decisions, people don’t always think them through.
On the other side of this coin are decisions about what to eat for lunch or what TV program to watch. Have you gone to lunch with someone who could not decide what they wanted to eat? Seriously, even if they chose badly, what’s the worst that could happen? Or maybe it’s you. Have you ever tried to decide which program to watch and missed the beginning of the one you finally decided on?
Then we come to work. Every day people make decisions. Again, some of the biggest decisions with the biggest consequences don’t seem to be well thought out. We see this time and time again. We also see simple decisions that seem to take forever. And then, there’s what we see all the time: the decision process for choosing a document management vendor.
Over the years we’ve seen people make good decisions and bad decisions. And while we might be a bit biased, the difference between good and bad is not whether they bought our solution or not. The difference between good and bad is whether or not they’ve made a decision that moves their organization in the right direction.
Some of the best decisions we’ve seen were made quickly. These customers had a problem to solve, looked for a solution and then took action. In every case where we’ve had a customer that fit this profile they’ve been successful and achieved the ROI that they expected. These customers knew the problem they were trying to solve and then solved it.
The worst decisions we’ve seen tend to be decisions that were made very painfully. We’ve seen organizations issue RFP’s that were so nonsensical that no vendor bid on them. Our favorites are three that were issued not once, but twice. I think they hoped that by making minor changes and re-issuing it they would have different results. One definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Issuing an RFP is a great way to procrastinate as it puts the burden of the decision on other people. By having group think, no one person has to commit or make a decision. This in itself is a decision, and a bad one at that.
The cure for procrastination is in following these simple steps:
- Define the problem you are trying to solve
- Describe the desired outcome
- Outline potential risks if you solve it
- Outline the risks if you don’t solve it
- Decide how big the risks are
- Set aside a specific amount of time to solve the problem
- Figure out what resources you need to solve the problem
- Outline potential solutions
- Pick one
It’s really not any harder than that. Even if you are trying to decide about the correct treatment for a life threatening disease, it’s still the same process. Because the consequences of a bad decision might be severe, it makes sense to get the right resources and be thoughtful, but it does not make sense to procrastinate.
Back to picking a document management solution. The very first step is in defining the problem you are trying to solve. This is where most people who make bad decisions go wrong. They skip this step and go right to looking at different products. Guess what? You can’t make a good decision this way. You can make a lucky decision. You can procrastinate. But you can’t make a good decision.
So if you would like to make a good decision on document management, call us. The first thing we will do is walk through the problem you are trying to solve.