Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leading edge of indecision

Down economies are bad for a lot of reasons. But one byproduct that keeps rearing its head lately is indecision. Frankly, when times are bad, the headscratchers, fencesitters and handwringers come out in force. There's this wicked inertia happening. It's been really hard to get anyone to make a decision and as a result projects are at a standstill (and worse, projected revenue from these projects are in jeopardy). I can easily understand why(limited dollars and resources), but frankly, it's the last thing you want to have happen when you're trying to build momentum and dig your way out of a hole. I think small teams that develop an actionable strategy, fill-in the right resources around it and then think creatively to get things done are in a better position to win. We're involved in a couple projects right now where out of necessity, small groups of client and agency teams are "hunkered in the bunker" collaborating aggressively, blending strategy and creative, and making decisions around projects that I personally think stand a great chance of being successful. More importantly, any one of these projects could serve as the first step in putting together a "string of wins" that could instill confidence in any team, and keep the momentum moving forward.

Do you have any ways of overcoming indecision within a group or a company that could help any of us?


  1. The headscratchers, et al., are keen to focus solely on the cost of a program or campaign that would follow a decision. Maybe it's time to start monetizing indecision. Paralysis has an equally real cost. And it also invites the inescapable consequence of keeping organizations on the same playing field as much of their competition. Succumbing to the wicked inertia you mention, everyone is scratching their heads. Do we -- as we seem so quick to proclaim, anyway -- really want to take our businesses to new competitive dimension? OK, then. Dare to be bold. Dare to decide. Dare to differentiate. Standing still never advances the cause.

    "What's this going to cost us?" There are two answers: the cost (and opportunity) of decision; and the cost (and lost opportunity) of indecision.

  2. Dear Kopias,

    Initially at the beginning of a downturn we tend to be reactive. We withdraw and protect what we have or what we think we have. We look at the our current client base and say we need to have a more "client focus" with our existing client base and not worry about creating other business opportunities.

    We need to be proactive during downturns. We have to first take an inventory and access strengths and weaknesses. What skills do we have? Can strengths be built upon and can weaknesses be improved or disgarded? Is training necessary or is some recruiting required? Adversity makes strange bedfellows. Do new alliances need to be forged? Networking; what is our existing network? How is it being utilized and are there new ways to cultivate it or expand upon it? How do we maintain quality control and measure ourselves throughout the new process?

    Current clients can't be ignored but at the same time being proactive and thinking of ways to improve and grow your business is just as or more important. Being proactive is goal setting in the face of adversity. It instills hope and a sense we are going in a positive direction.