The do nothing option is almost always available. One of my former bosses used it in response to dramatic proposals or perceived emergencies. He invariably let a situation evolve awhile before weighing in, and when he did respond his guidance was generally in line with the evolving direction, i.e., which way the wind was beginning to blow. What I originally took as his indecisiveness was in fact an ongoing strategy. Start with doing nothing. Sometimes the emergency would resolve itself, more information would arise through other channels or decisions would become more transparent. In this context, I learned to always present the do nothing option up front. If there were a number of possible options discussed, the first (or last) option considered was doing nothing. If we were analyzing a case for change, one of the scenarios was continuing the status quo. Business cases began to include more detailed pros/cons and costs/benefits for the current state baseline. We found that formally identifying and analyzing the do nothing option accelerated decision making and led to more thoughtful responses. Recognize that choosing not to choose is a choice.

It’s hard to pick a shirt color when you’re not ready to get dressed.