The Cost of Indecision
We often look at the serious decisions we make in our lives with two distinct sides—right and wrong. When we fear making a wrong decision, we might take some extra time to make sure we "get it right."
But what makes a decision wrong? These are just some qualifiers for wrong decisions.
- People get hurt
- Money is wasted
- A project fails
- A product is ruined
Decisions we make entirely on our own are arguably easier to make than the decisions we make that other people depend on. The more people involved and the closer we are to those people, the more we fear making the wrong decision.
When we fear making a wrong decision, we fall into the danger of not making one at all. We either take an indefinite amount of time to decide or we waver between multiple decisions.
I’d argue that this lack of a decision—or indecision—is even more dangerous than making a wrong decision outright. This is especially true for those who depend on the decisions we need to make.
I’d rather have a leader who commits to a wrong decision than one who doesn't make a decision at all.
This is a line that I’ve come to embrace over the years. It comes from personal experience relying on other people’s decisions in order to make my own—based on my own responsibilities.
Why is indecision dangerous?
Not making a definitive decision leads to confusion among those who depend on it to make their own decisions. Wavering between two decisions may cause others to make their decisions based on completely different assumptions.
People could get hurt due to a lack of coordination. Money can be wasted since people are stuck waiting on you or lack the information they need from you to create a plan around. Projects fail for missing deadlines or lack of cooperation. Products can get ruined due to uncertainty and misguided assumptions.
These are all the characteristics of a wrong decision, but compounded across several other decision makers.
My advice to you this week is that when it comes to making decisions, especially those that involve several other people, the only wrong decision is remaining in a place of indecision, indefinitely.