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Sunday, 28 March 2010

Take a Deep Breath, Close Your Eyes and Go For It!

Some time ago, I worked with two nice and competent young women to develop a marketing strategy for some software that they were designing for small hotels. It was very clever and would cover just about every aspect of running a small hotel including bookings, purchases, room allocations and so on.

The software was designed for small hotels so the definition of the market was reasonably easy at the time. Initial beta tests proved very successful and early adopters were enthusiastic.

However, try as I may, I could never get my clients to agree to launch Version 1.

“No, no”, they said: “We have to fix a few glitches before we can launch” and that went on for months. In the end I decided that we were going nowhere and pulled out. I don’t know whether the project ever launched and I suspect that it didn’t.

The key to it all was, of course, an aversion to risk. The feeling persisted that if they launched prematurely, then there would be problems and complaints, so they decided to go on and on making sure that it was perfect.

The problem is that the pursuit of perfection is specious; one can only approach perfection and never actually achieve it. The trick is to assess the risk of doing something and then to decide the percentage of risk that one is able to accept.

In the end it is really a matter of judgement, rather than analysis and that requires a measure of both experience and courage. Risk is a constant in life and the clever thing is to minimise it without adversely affecting the decision making process.

At some stage it is necessary to close down the thinking and worrying process, and go for it. After all, if Leonardo had been risk averse, he would have painted the Cistine Chapel floor.


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