If you have ever played a sport like soccer, basketball, or hockey, you know that you can’t just shoot at-will. You need information in order to decide whether or not it’s a good idea to take the shot. At the same time though, you can’t wait around forever to take the shot either.
In sports, some of that information you need is obtained during the game. For example, if one of the defensemen fell and left you with a wide open path to the goal you may decide to take the shot. Or, if you see that one of your teammates is wide open on the other side of the field, you may opt to pass instead of taking the shot.
Other information you might use comes before the game. You might research the other team and find out that the goalie’s left side is their weak side. If you’re on their left during the game, it might be advantageous to take the shot. Or, you may know that the other team’s defenseman on the other side of the field is new to the team and might be playing out of position. In that case, it may be better for your teammate to take the shot.
In the military, we would get similar information. During a mission, we might have stumbled across some key intelligence about the enemy. That’s like the game time information I wrote about earlier. That information could determine whether or not we would continue the mission, or adjust what we’re doing on the fly. Similar to the pre-game information, the higher ranking Generals, etc. likely have lots of intelligence about the enemy. They know their strengths and weaknesses, which helps identify the strategy they’ll use when they fight against them.
Business Decision Making
Have you ever felt like you just didn’t have enough information to make a decision? Sure, when you first start a business you won’t have customer feedback or that sort of information, but as you gain momentum, you will have at least some of that information. Maybe you don’t have thousands of responses to the survey you sent out about new product features. So what?
Use the handful of responses you did get and make a decision off of that. Use the feedback you do have to make a decision on what product features you will introduce next.
The responses you get may lead you in a direction that makes your product appealing to a whole new customer base.
Or, it could be a total flop.
Honestly, you won’t know until you try it. I wish I had a better answer than that.
However, once you know whether or not the decision you made was a good decision, you’ll have a brand new piece of information available to you.
- Was it a good decision? Great, do more of that – whatever it is.
- Was it a bad decision? Well, that sucks. Now you know not to do that or things like it again.
If you wait until you have perfect information, you’ll never make a decision. No new information is perfect. It’s just better than what you had before.