Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 09/13/2021
My dogs receive essentially the same dog food for breakfast and dinner (their only two mealtimes). The “wet” food may be chicken or meat or fish, but they don’t care if it’s the same thing every day, and the dry “kibbles” are always the same. They are excited at every meal, and eat everything, immediately. This is because they’ve never had to choose among 20 options. There is no “analysis paralysis.” It’s fine with them. The food is good.
It may be useful to limit our own choices. You can spend an hour surfing through 400 TV options to determine how to spend 30 minutes. People are so confused by investment options that they keep their savings in low- or no-interest accounts (or under the mattress). I’ve dealt with clients who take months generating and evaluating options when the real choice is “do it or don’t do it,” or “raise it or lower it.” I’ve actually had buyers tell me they admire my “critical thinking skills.” I thank them while avoiding eye contact.
More options don’t mean better choices, but they do mean slower choices and the constant, nagging fear that you may have chosen something less than optimal. (I only suggest three options in client proposals.) Our car “brand manager” (no more “sales people”) narrowed down the infinite permutations of the manufacturer on the hand-built car and said, “Let me show you the choices I think are best for you.” We configured a car more quickly than people with all those affectations in Starbuck’s order coffee (“three shots, half soy half almond, no gluten, stirred slowly, remove all flavor”).
The Marines needed only “a few good men.” They limited their options. Try limiting yours to “a few top choices.” They’ve banned me from the local Starbucks, which is fine, because I’ve always felt as though I’m trespassing in someone’s poorly decorated living room. Dunkin’ Donuts is the way to go: hot or iced? Easy choice.
As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. —Buddy Hacket
We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely. —E O Wilson
People arise in the morning thinking either that it’s a wonderful day to share their value and abilities and help others, or it’s another long, slow crawl through enemy territory. These are personal choices. —Alan Weiss