When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk

Sometimes there is a need to take a stand. There is a need to decide, one way or the other. The time to gather data is over. You don't know what you don't know. There is no point thinking about what you could have done to be more informed, to be more aware of the implications. Its like... doing the right thing at the intersection and not slowing down/stopping the traffic behind you. Whether the road taken will be the right one - will be known shortly. 

In cricket, a captain might decide to use a bowler at a particular time. In business it might be a decision of buying v/s building... sometimes it pays off, and sometimes it doesn't. Of course, there is a factor of 'instinct' involved on top of the data (all great leaders claim to have a good one), but wondering what you could have done, when you need to 'go' - can only harm the outcome

Once you have done whatever you could to acquire knowledge, go with conviction based on what you know. I am reminded of a line from one of the greatest western movies ever made - "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk". That scene and this quote pretty much sums up what I am talking about. 


  1. Why we acquire knowledge ? to utilize when it is most required w/o any delay else you loose opportunity.In front of enemy no time to think just shoot or get shot. In day to day life, that moment comes only once, never repeats itself. So go ahead capture for yourself and also share with everyone.

  2. This is such a relevant analogy! I guess no one knows more about strong decision making than people from the armed forces.

  3. Reminds me of the black swan (recently read). And of this brilliant colleague who could not gather enough conviction to apply for an US MBA, after mulling for over 2 years.

    The factors that end up being important are the ones that you can't see yet. What you (or others) can foresee and plan for can't hurt you. It often can't benefit you too much either.

    By making the decision and developing momentum, you open yourself to other opportunities. Unplanned ones. The Black Swans.

    So decisions sometimes aren't important because they can be right or wrong. But because they unearth new options, new decisions.

  4. Yes, I agree 110%. There have been so many situations where unexpected positive results have come out of taking a particular decision (some of them didn't appear to be productive at all). Don't know why but I am reminded of an incident that happened in Bangalore. Abhinav and I were hoping to get some interviews with online market research companies (the informal study we were doing back then, if your remember) to understand price points/deal sizes/costs etc. After 2 days of calling.. he couldn't get any worthwhile interviews. I was travelling from Hyderabad (moving with luggage from Hyd to Pune via Blore) so didn't have much time to spare time on this. On Friday we got just one interview with a guy who appeared to be a small fish in the pond. We almost didn't go but as we spoke to him we got ideas on how to strike intelligent conversations with the people we were hoping to meet. In the next half a day (the working part of Saturday) we met with the leaders in the industry and a specialist niche player. Not only did we have 100% hits on our calling but also our interviews turned out to be insightful. By the last interview we actually had a lot of real industry data to discuss. We pretty much validated our estimation of "price per valid response" charged by different online market research players. Not sure if you remember that. It only happened because we went ahead and met the first guy instead of sitting at home and doing nothing.

  5. Greedy/ needy/weak persons generally ponder over the past decisions and say "could have done better if----. Some of the great battles won, not only due to proper planning but by taking decisions, capturing opportunities- we call it initiative. Everything is possible, one can develop 6th sense which shows the best course of action or course correction as and when required.