Analysis Paralysis? 80% Is Often Good Enough!

Analysis Paralysis? 80% Is Often Good Enough!

More often than not, we have to make decisions with less-than-perfect information or insight. That's just life, especially as a leader. The biggest common denominator of great leaders and great leadership teams is the ability to make good decisions with less-than-perfect information. But how do we make a decision when there are "gaps" in our information?

One of my favorite decision-making guidelines is the 80% Rule. The essence of the rule is that 80% solutions are usually good enough - especially in business, since we typically make dozens of material decisions every week as we deal with the myriad of issues afflicting every company.

Shooting for "good enough" might seem counter-intuitive or even lazy since, for many of us, the idea that it is unacceptable to aim for anything less than perfection has been deeply embedded in the psyche. We've been taught that "good enough" isn't good enough.

But there are two things wrong with striving for perfection:

  • It's a fool's game. When it comes to the world of people and business, perfection doesn't exist. Chasing it is almost always a huge waste of time and resources.
  • Setting a standard of perfection can be crippling. If we cannot give ourselves, our colleagues, and our employees permission not to be perfect, we can become too afraid of failure to do. Then how will we ever make any decisions, get things done, or learn anything?

The 80% rule works because 80% is close enough to 100% to convey the idea of striving for excellence without requiring absolute perfection.

Further, if you have the right kind of people in your organization, they will have an innate desire to exceed your 80% expectations and strive for perfection anyway. It's your permission to miss the bull's-eye that gives them the freedom they need to aim for it.

The 80% Rule doesn't apply just to decision-making. It also applies to setting up the facts we use to make decisions. Can you imagine how many hours in the history of business have been wasted debating and worrying about the exception to a rule, trying to come up with a solution to a problem that will work 100% of the time? It's usually impossible to devise a solution to a problem that will work in all cases without exception.

One of the beauties of the 80% Rule is that it respects and acknowledges the exceptions. In fact, it enhances our ability to make the larger point. For instance, 80% of the time, I think you will find that the 80% Rule works extraordinarily well! Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, but given the probabilities, doesn't it make sense to at least consider the 80% Rule?

Until the next time, may you make good decisions swiftly, and build with confidence and passion.

Mark Abbott is a leadership team coach, entrepreneur, investor, and managing member of Mark Abbott & Associates. This article is from the EOS Blog, where he is a contributor. Call him at 203-313-7755 or send him an email.

Published: December 3rd, 2014

Share this Feature


comments powered by Disqus
Golden Corral

Franchisor Topics »

Premium Services Business Opportunity
Franchise Grade is The Authority on Franchising. Our proprietary Franchise...

Silvercrest Advertising Business Opportunity

Silvercrest Advertising
Silvercrest Advertising has created a one-stop shop solution for all of...

Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference Business Opportunity

Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference
June 19-20, 2018. Intercontinental Hotel, Atlanta (Buckhead), GA. An...

HigherMe Business Opportunity

HigherMe was founded by a former multi-unit franchisee to optimize the...

Proven Match Business Opportunity

Proven Match
Proven Match provides science-based insights and screening tools to...

ApplePie Capital Business Opportunity

ApplePie Capital
ApplePie Capital provides a fresh new approach to franchise financing that...

Vya Business Opportunity

Engaging franchisees in local marketing takes more than just technology....

Multi-Unit Franchising Conference Business Opportunity

Multi-Unit Franchising Conference
Make deals with the most powerful players in Multi-Unit Franchising. Our...

Franchise Update Magazine

A targeted, quarterly magazine that takes CEO's, VPs and Sales Executives to the cutting edge of franchise development.

Subscribe to Franchise Update Sales Report

A Franchise Update Media Production
Franchise Update Media | P.O. Box 20547 // San Jose, CA 95160 // PH. (408) 402-5681
Copyright © 2001 - 2017. All Rights Reserved.

In Loving Memory Of Timothy Gardner (1987-2014)