Many executives, especially highly analytical ones, want to ensure that their decisions are correct, which is impossible in a world of imperfect information and uncertainty. Still, executives with a need for precision and correctness often postpone decisions and fail to make their people’s deliverables clear. They provide vague and hesitant direction to their direct reports and hope that they figure out the right answers along the way. The chances that they will produce the results CEOs eventually decide they want are slim.
Simple advice for executives: make clarity more important than accuracy. Remember that your people will learn more if you take decisive action than if you always wait for more information. And if the decisions you make in the spirit of creating clarity turn out to be wrong when more information becomes available, change plans and explain why. It is your job to risk being wrong. The only real cost to you of being wrong is loss of pride. The cost to your company of not taking the risk of being wrong is paralysis.