The Hard Thing About Hard Things is a book that I read a number of years ago (Amazon just told me that I purchased it on March 12, 2014), but that I frequently come back to in my mind.
One of my favorite themes in the book can be summed up with this quote: “Often any decision, even the wrong decision, is better than no decision.”
Decisions can be scary. What if I make the wrong decision and things go horribly wrong? Then things are on me.
In some organizations, indecision may feel like the safest decision. Let’s do one more study just to make sure that we’ve got this right.
But in a startup (which is what Ben Horowitz’s book is about) and in organizations that would actually like to grow, innovate, and accomplish things, indecision can mean death. Without decisions, organizations lock up.
None of this is to say that bad decisions are okay. Executives must make high quality decisions as fast as possible, and as a rule of thumb you probably want to make more good decisions than bad decisions.
But speed, momentum, and organizational clarity also matter a great deal.
One of the reasons why I mentally come back to this book is because oftentimes I find that things can get hung up on relatively inconsequential decisions. So I like to remind myself that go is better than stop.
As Ben points out in his book: “The only mistake you cannot make is running out of cash.” And time has a funny way of burning through cash.