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He Who Hesitates, ‘The Sequel’

There is a syndrome in sports called ‘paralysis by analysis’. – Arthur Ashe.

Tennis great Arthur Ashe was right, of course, but we don’t think he went quite far enough in the application of this syndrome. It applies to virtually all areas of our lives as well as in the business world, including the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries.

Not long ago we discussed the importance of making timely decisions when hiring.

The same principle is true when steering your business. It’s said that a 30-second delay in ordering a change of course doomed the Titanic.

Fortunately, you have longer than 30 seconds, but as is often said in a game of checkers, “You don’t have forever. Make a move!”

Beyond filling staff positions, we sometimes see the decision-making process become dangerously slow in business development and when choosing between the options of using a recruiter or using in-house staff. We’ll look at business development and expansion first.

Editor’s Note: This blog was previously posted by Seuss Consulting and has been slightly modified for Seuss Recruitment.

There’s only one first place

You often hear the phrase “first to market” in business conversations and it is virtually always used in the context of it delivering a distinct competitive advantage. We can’t think of any case when being first to market was a disadvantage, although coming into any market unprepared is always bad, whether you arrive first, last, or anywhere in between.

Timely execution of all the milestones required to bring your business into a new area is critical. Unnecessary hesitation at any point or points can doom a project. In the states experienced business developers and corporate leaders say, “This isn’t my first rodeo.” Getting the guidance you need to make sure that your project keeps moving forward apace can, in the end, make a huge difference on the bottom line.

When opportunities present themselves, it’s important to act. If you don’t, the next guy probably will. CRO management, for example, may be presented with the opportunity to piggy-back into a growing market. Hesitating will either scuttle entry into the new market altogether or make it more difficult to gain the desired level of market share.


Recruiter vs in-house

Because we do a lot of pharma and biotech recruiting, we appreciate the fact that the decision makers are always weighing the costs, but our advice today is to not spend a long time placing items on the scale.

The workday is a very perishable item. Once it’s gone you can never get it back.

We’ve seen managers put off the decision for weeks, even months. While there is a cost associated with bringing in a recruiter, there can be an equally large and ultimately bigger cost associated with leaving the position unfilled. The new employee’s productive time is forfeited and in many cases new sources of revenue are lost or delayed.

Colin Powell expressed this when he said, “Procrastination in the name of reducing risk actually increases risk.” We don’t encourage recklessness, but we do counsel decisiveness and timeliness when making expansion, recruitment and hiring decisions.

This is really what leadership in business is all about.