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Why Truncated Thinking is the Confidence Killer

To all who face a challenging decision or dilemma: Keep on thinking!

Truncated thinking is the all-too-common phenomenon in which the thinker encounters an aspect of a decision that is really tough and decides to postpone additional thinking in order to ‘do something more productive.’

To illustrate, let’s say a new product design reaches a ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ point. Stakes are relatively high because a substantial amount of time and money has already been invested in the design.

A ‘go’ decision requires further investment and a test in the marketplace. A ‘no-go’ decision begs justification of the investment already made. There is potential for embarrassment in either case and in some instances jobs may be on the line.

Individuals get paralyzed by the negative what-if’s and truncated thinking causes the project to stall. No resolution is actively taken; oftentimes the original idea dies for lack of follow-through.

Truncated thinking can sound like this: “We can’t do that.” “My boss won’t go for this.” “We don’t have the resources.” “That’s not our business.”

To the extent that there are solid reasons for the above declarations, they may be true. But oftentimes, they are pulled out when people get tired of thinking, are preoccupied with other matters, or simply don’t know what to do next.

Truncated thinking is a confidence killer. If it happens often enough, the very process of thinking deeply and creatively is destroyed. Thinking becomes more a review of recent successful history than an exploration of what might be possible given the resources and opportunities at hand.

“We can’t do that,” is often an expression of concern about talent, resources, or permission. Probing these concerns can yield new ideas or understanding that rejuvenate confidence.

“My boss won’t go for this,” indicates some trepidation between thinker and boss. Perhaps the manner in which an idea is being presented has been rejected in the past. To continue productive thinking, ask: “What would my boss go for?”

“We don’t have the resources,” is a painful reality for many today. However, allocating resources is still a management responsibility and examining new allocations to spur growth is worth the exercise.

“That’s not our business,” is a buggy whip classic. Business people build confidence by continuing to look ahead and think deeply, paying close attention to shifts in demographics, economics, social trends, business developments, regulations, and resources.

Each new day brings a fresh combination of elements that can create hurdles, clear pathways, or simply muddy the waters. If truncated thinking becomes a part of your culture, hurdles and muddy water will likely obscure any new pathways. Beware this confidence killer. Make time each day to think deeply and well about your decisions. Your future awaits.

Categories: Business

About Susan Marshall

Susan Marshall

Susan A. Marshall is author, speaker and founder, whose mission is to create a stronger, more confident future, one person or team at a time.  Through personal experience and hands-on work with executives from diverse industries at all levels, Susan has had the privilege of helping thousands of people do the difficult and exhilarating work of growth.