Execution eats planning for dinner

Have you ever heard someone refer to “analysis paralysis?” The Science of Analysis Paralysis: How Overthinking Kills Your Productivity & What You Can Do About It lists four ways overthinking adversely affects you:

  • Overthinking lowers your performance on mentally-demanding tasks
  • Overthinking kills your creativity
  • Overthinking eats up your willpower
  • Overthinking makes you less happy

Would organizational overthinking suffer the same types of adverse results? What about for a disruptive innovation team? Have you institutionalized an environment that encourages overthinking? Beyond personal psychologies and predispositions, what encourages overthinking?

  • A culture that always punishes failure
  • Leadership that demands answers for the unanswerable
  • Inflexible policies and practices that are slaves to a fixed set of success metrics
  • A pervasive attitude that “we win as a team, but we lose because of you”
  • The pain of the attempt far exceeds the pain of inaction

An organization that values good planning far above good execution will seldom realize the results promised by the plan. An organization that consistently points to poor planning as the cause of every failure invites analysis paralysis.

Analysis paralysis is damaging to an organization and lethal to innovation.

One of my favorite funny quotes: "We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur." (Vice President Al Gore, 9/22/97)

If your organization expects plans that are “ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur,” you have my condolences.

Moving beyond planning to experimentation and execution is essential for every organization. It is through experimentation and execution that real learning takes place, and it is real learning that fuels innovation.

A final thought about planning and execution: As I mentioned in Monday’s Daily Disruption, we were not always brilliant strategists, but we were always great at execution. One commonality of all plans is that everything will not go according to plan. When things go awry, great execution can save the day. Great execution provides viable options.

So, here’s to three square meals and a bonus meal: Profits Eat Innovation For Breakfast


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