A Bias for Action Can Make You Fail

A bias for action can help you do big things and reach big goals. In big projects, it’s vital in the delivery phase, which should be fast. But it hurts the planning phase, where it’s better to be slow.

In episode 66 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:

1) A bias for action feels productive but can also backfire and cause big failure in big projects.

2) Every big project has 2 basic phases: Planning and Delivery.

3) In their book, How Big Things Get Done, authors Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner note that 99.5 percent of megaprojects go over budget, over schedule, fail to deliver promised results, or have some combination of these.

4) Failed projects use the Think Fast, Act Slow approach (rushed, superficial planning before project delivery). Successful projects apply the Think Slow, Act Fast pattern (careful, precise planning before project delivery).

5) To do big things, apply the Think Slow, Act Fast approach with these 5 action tips:

i) Tip #1 – Commit to not committing.

ii) Tip #2 – Think from right to left.

iii) Tip #3 – Tinker, test, and experiment.

iv) Tip #4 – Figure out what’s your LEGO – your basic building block – and keep adding one block to another.

v) Tip #5 – Take the outside view, not just the inside view.

6) Why the significance of planning is often downplayed: The Principle of the Hiding Hand and the Theory of Beneficial Ignorance or Providential Ignorance.

You don’t need to be deep in delivery mode to spark creative ideas. Use the think slow, act fast pattern to plan carefully, deliver effectively, and get the best results in big projects.

To learn more by reading the transcript, go here.

To listen to A Bias for Action Can Make You Fail, click here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist podcast at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

Watch the video on our YouTube channel, The Incrementalist – A Productivity Show. And subscribe to the show to keep making big changes in small steps.

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.


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