CEO Insider

“Paralysis-of-Analysis” is considered by most business schools to be the most significant detriment to entrepreneurial and business success today. However, for many individuals, the lack of meaningful accomplishment is not due to poor planning or application but rather an inability to make educated decisions.

We live in a vibrant, ever-evolving world. The decision-making process is a 360-degree lifecycle that re-loops endlessly. Learning how to make educated decisions quickly and effectively is necessary to keep up with the speed of today’s business.

How do we do this? The answer lies within a powerful four-letter formula.

Since this formula was designed, it has been embraced and used by IBM to significantly increase the effectiveness of their planning, analysis, and implementation processes. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals adopted the formula to increase teaming and sales effectiveness and to resolve selling-oriented conflicts. For more than a decade, industry leader CareerTrack Seminars used this formula as the foundation of their bestselling day-long business professional skills training seminar.

What is that four-letter formula? S.T.O.P. 

The S.T.O.P. Model allows you to facilitate a controlled and non-combative conversation through the four psychological steps of the decision-making process.

With this model, you can attack procrastination, paralysis-of-analysis, fear from impeding the decision process, and more importantly, inhibiting the execution or implementation actions of productivity today.

The four steps to the model and decision process are:

  1. S – Stop and See what the Stimulant is to be addressed. What is the situation or challenge to be addressed? Identify the WHAT factors to the conversation and decision issues. If everyone knows what we are here to discuss, then proceed.
  2. T – Target and Think through the reasons why the “S” is worthy of conversation and explore the reasoning behind it, making sure you and everyone else understands the reasons for the topic, need, issue, challenge. This is where the case for the “S” must be made and is where you gain (or fail to gain) the buy-in of others. Then, while ample analysis and investigation are critical, you can logically move forward to the third step. Ensure that all of the available Subject-Matter-Experts available are engaged and their valuable input is gathered, guard against hasty analysis and ego’s over running this step of the process.
  3. O – Organize Options around how to address the “S.” Use this step to generate multiple action plans as your first idea may not be the most viable, and you’ll need other options to weigh against it. When you spend the majority of your time in this stage, it ensures greater final output and provides backup plans should your initial implementation plan implode. Again, ensure that all of the available Subject-Matter-Experts available are engaged and their valuable input is gathered so as to ensure powerful idea-generation takes place, guard against hasty forward movement here and ego’s over running this step of the process.
  4. P – Pick the most viable option and Proceed. The beauty of having completed all four steps, is if there are implementation problems, you will always have a backup plan (step three).

Once implementation is complete, reapply the S.T.O.P. Model to ensure continued success. Making decisions is a learning process that will help you with all subsequent decision-making and implementation needs.

The S.T.O.P. Model is a simple yet powerful way to facilitate decision-making and consistently improve. The lessons you learn with every decision will make you stronger in the future.

Written by Dr. Jeffrey Magee.

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