Monday, November 29, 2010

Anlysis Paralysis

Sometimes the hardest part about going green is deciding. It can be hard to decide how to best label the recycle bins, decide which flooring is most durable and most green, or decide when to implement renewable energy installations. There is so much to know, and green options change so frequently, that it's difficult hard to recognize the right choice and the right time.

Get over it. There's no right thing or right time. You will make a thoughtful, informed choice, and then move forward on that path. Meanwhile other paths will appear that you may no longer be able to follow, and others who have chosen different paths, will speed ahead of you - or not. This is why it takes leadership to make green decision. A leader makes the best possible choice at the time and moves forward.

Getting stuck deciding is a greater issue than any concerns you have about second guesses.

I have a simple story I tell to illustrate analysis paralysis, it's about a cup of coffee.

I was at a conference having made the keynote presentation earlier in the day. I was part of a group of greenies and we were heading into the dessert and coffee part of the moving-dinner-at-museums evening event. With this group of greenies coming in behind me, I poured a cup of coffee - caffeinated. Well nuts, I couldn't drink that at 8:30 pm! what to do? I couldn't put it back, I couldn't waste it and the now-used cup and saucer with it. And no one wanted it, of course.

I froze. People lined up behind me waiting for their coffee. The group around me - imagined or real - watched to see how green I really was.

Jim saved me. He stood next to me and said, in a calm voice and as if it was a TV show I held a loaded weapon: "it's okay, Sarah, just put...the... cup...down".

I was freed from the spell, set the cup aside to be dumped and washed, and poured myself another.

Not very green. Not a big deal either.

Your challenges of course will be much weightier, I'm sure, but still the parable applies. And be assured, as you make more and more green decisions, you'll become practiced at identifying the priority needs for a situation, then identifying the pros and cons of possible solutions, weighing time and money and innovation factors, and then making a decision.

If you need practice, start with a coffee, move up to recycling bins and office supplies, then perhaps test a floor surface or a low-VOC paint in a small area, and gradually you'll regain that confidence you had before you had to think green.

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