Time and money almost always need to be balanced with quality in legal projects. When you’re faced with increasing project constraints, the ability to make good decisions quickly becomes especially important.
Decisiveness requires the type of confidence that comes from taking action, rather than accumulating theoretical knowledge. You might not make the best choice. You might even offend. But you’ll move things forward.
- Seek disconfirmation of assumptions. Ask “Is this wrong?” instead of “Am I right? Talk to someone with relevant experience.
- If you’re working in a team, understand your role and the decisions you are expected to make.
- Speak up in team meetings. Verbalizing the rationale behind your decision can make it seem much more plausible than keeping it to yourself.
- Challenge yourself to beat the constraints by making decisions that will help meet milestones early or within the budget.
- Believe in yourself. If you make a mistake, you have a choice to learn from it or dwell on it. Learning leads to agility. Dwelling leads to fragility. Your confidence will grow as you apply your experience to future decisions.
Lawyers, more than any almost any other professionals, tend towards perfectionism. The reasons for this behaviour are as varied as the symptoms; high stakes, regulatory requirements, exacting standards (self-imposed or not), etc. The next time you’re tempted to spend time overthinking all your options, try focusing on a few. Then make a decision and move on to the next task.