If you’ve never been a decision maker for a project or team, you might think the decision makers always have all the information.  I’m here to tell you it just isn’t true.  First, taking the time to gather “all” the information necessary to make a nuanced decision would take way more time than you have, period.  Second, gathering information can lead to “analysis paralysis,” where you spend so much time gathering info that you don’t actually do anything.

So no, managers and leaders, just like the guys on the front line, often have to use their experience, intuition, and just plain common sense to make decisions on a day-to-day basis.

Why is this important to know?  Because it makes them human, just like you and me.  I like Steve Jobs as much as the next guy, but I’m reading his biography and it’s amazing how much hero worship he had in his own head and collected.  True, the man was a genius, but he didn’t get there gathering data.  He had a plethora of life choices and experiences that gave him insight into the consumer mind and that’s what made him special.  But he wasn’t infallible.

Keep that in mind the next time you’re reading expert advice and material.  It’s great to learn from others, don’t get me wrong, but in the end you should make your own choices.  Hone your own skills and create experiences that will make you better at whatever it is you’re doing.  And for the love of Steve, don’t wait around for “all the info” before you just get out there and do something.  Do it now and learn from your mistakes rather than waiting around for a bunch of random facts.

-Deborah Fike

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