MYTH: Time will solve the problem.
REALTY: Most of the problems will remain unsolved, and questions will be asked about your decision-making skills.
Procrastinators prefer to leave a problem as it is, thinking that, when the time is ripe, the problem will be solved on its own. They rely upon miracles to solve the problem. Yes, sometimes time might solve a problem by making it obsolete, or by new data coming along that changes the nature of the problem. But the fundamental question to be asked is whether organizations can afford to wait for an unknown time period in order to solve a problem. What will ‘happen to the employees impacted by this or to the customer who is waiting for deliverable?
Employees need to pay due diligence to every issue. If they need to collect more information, then they should come out with specific plans and a timeline for this activity. On finishing this within the timeline, they can come together to go through it and see whether they have acquired all the information or the correct one to make a decision. Often, it is not possible to gather, all the relevant information to take a decision, and there will be some who might burn their fingers by taking a hasty decision; when such a thing happens, the decision-maker in future might lose confidence to take a decision or he might pass on the responsibility to someone else. Then there are those who lack confidence in interpreting or analyzing the data gathered, and thus sit on the issue for a long time without taking a decision. Every successful person has his share of wrong decisions, but what separates him from the unsuccessful ones is that if he finds he has taken a wrong decision, he’s willing to rectify it. Managers should not be afraid if they or their employees fail—making mistakes is the most powerful form of learning. And when a mistake is made, there ought to be no witch-hunt, just an analysis of what went wrong so that the same mistake won’t be repeated in future. Mistakes should not make you diffident and so sit on an issue for long; each mistake and its realization .should make you a stronger professional. If a manager dilly-dallies when it comes to taking decisions, questions will be asked about his management capacities, and the prospects of the company and its employees will take a beating as problems pile up.
WHAT CAN YOU Do? You have got to ask yourself why you are leaving problems unattended or why you are not tackling them in time. Is it lack of confidence or is it because you have burnt your fingers in the past by quickly taking decisions which turned out to be incorrect? Yes, sometimes people fail, but failure should teach rather than demoralize. The more work you do, the more mistakes you’ll commit, but in the end, it should all be a learning experience, and you should come out of a bad decision, wiser and more confident. Playing it safe will not help the learning process, nor will it do any good for your confidence.