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Vishwadeep Khatri

Analysis Paralysis vs Extinct by Instinct

Analysis Paralysis is when an organization or a team or a person is unable to make a decision and progress thereby entering into a state of paralysis. This could be either due to a flood of information or due to the tendency to overthink or over analyze in order to get the perfect outcome


Extinct by Instinct is when an organization or a team or a person makes an incorrect decision in haste without detailed or with little analysis. Such decisions are often detrimental for the organization


An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Shashikant Adlakha, Senthilkumar G and Mala Pulickel


Applause for all the respondents - Plato Pathrose, Ram Kumar Chaudhary, Satyajit Das, Pradeepan Sekar, Selva Mariappan Subramanian, Mohamed Asif, Shashikant Adlakha, Krutibas Biswal, Senthilkumar G, Alpesh Gorasia, Narayanasamy, Mala Pulickel, Ashok Ghodke, Ajay Sharma, Tushar Maradwar, Pratik Gorasia, Ibukun Onifade


Q 260. 'Analysis Paralysis' and 'Extinct by Instinct' are the opposite ends of decision making spectrum. Highlight the typical corporate behaviors associated with both types of decision making and why both of them should be avoided?



Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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18 answers to this question

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Decision Making:

· Decision-making is an essential process in every organization & an integral part of the managerial process.

· For good decision making, it is imperative to have the right kind of information which is complete. Also, the ability to effectively interpret the information available is required.

· For effective corporate decision making - discussions & consultations are two primary tools.


Importance of Effective Decision making in Corporates:

1. It helps to face problems & challenges

2. It directs in achieving objectives’

3. Increases efficiency

4. It motivates employees


Analysis Paralysis vs Decision Making:

· Analysis paralysis is an anti-pattern state of over-analysis or over thinking of the information available, which results in no decision or conclusion or action being implemented.

· Eg: (a) In a project, too much focus is on finding factors & analyzing them thereby delaying the completion of Analyze phase.

· Over Analysis or Analysis Paralysis is a time-consuming process that is one of the wastes. In this process, an opportunity can be missed due to a lack of decision making.


Extinct by instinct vs. Decision Making:

· Extinct by instinct, is a state of actions being performed based on hasty judgment and or gut feelings, leading to incorrect decisions.

· Eg: (a) Recruiting an employee for a position as per gut feeling. (b) Launching a new product in the country without a detailed Analysis. (c) Implementing an action item without piloting.

· Decisions based on Extinct by instinct are not based on data or actual cause. And without knowing the reason, the results may or may not be fruitful.


For effective Decision Making, it’s essential to have a structured and balanced approach. This is further possible if the objective is evident in the current situation i.e., what the goal is, what are the resources available, what are the alternatives available. A structured approach will further help to evaluate & implement a decision.

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‘Analysis Paralysis’ and ‘Extinct by Instinct’:


Analysis Paralysis (or Paralysis by Analysis) is the result of Behavioral Science driven and it defines an individual or group process when over processing, over analyzing or overthinking of any critical situation could cause forward motion or decision making to become more paralyzed meaning that no solution or course(s) of action is decided upon. The situation may be too complicated and decision is never made with respect to the fear of change that a potentially larger than problem may arise. A Person or Individual or Group and Leadership should take an immediate decision with less or agreed time frame based on the Business Analytical solutions.


A person may desire the perfection solution, but may fear that a decision that could result in error, while on the way to a better solution. On the other end of the time spectrum is the phase extinct by instinct, which is making a fatal decision based on hasty judgement or a get reaction.

Analysis Paralysis is generally happened due to fear of either making an error, outweighs the realistic expectations or potential value of success in a decision made in a timely manner. An overload of options, can overwhelm the respective situation and causing this “Paralysis” rendering one unable to come to a conclusion. It should be a larger problem in many critical situations where decisions need to be reached, but a leader or person is not able to provide a response last enough potentially causing a very bigger issue than they would have. Leader should take a decision based on the data availability, past experience and how risk was handled with mitigation.


Business Analysis Core Concept Model:

A Person or Group and Leader who ever is taking a decision in any large organization should consider the following Business Analysis Core Concept model under any critical situations.

1.     Value

2.     Solution

3.     Need

4.     Stakeholders

5.     Context

6.     Change.

Definition: We deliver a Value from a Solution to a Need of Stakeholders within Context of Change.


Decision Making:

A person or Individual or Group and Leadership must be an effective in understanding the criteria involved in making a best decision and also in a position to assist others to make better decisions under critical situations.

Business Analytics Practices (Iterative Methodical Exploration):

Data Driven Decision Making Include:

i)                 Descriptive Analytics

ii)                Predictive Analytics

iii)               Prescriptive Analytics

Effectiveness Measures during Decision Making Process Include:

Measures of effective decision making include:


i)                   The Respective Stakeholders are presented or available in the decision-making process.

ii)                 Stakeholders understand the decision-making process end to end and the rationale behind each decision.

iii)               The pros and cons of all available options are clearly communicated to stakeholders.

iv)               The best decision reduces or eliminates Risk, and any remaining uncertainty is accepted.

v)                 The decision made addresses the opportunity at hand and best interest of all stakeholders.

vi)               All stakeholders understand all the conditions, Environment, and measures in which decision will be made

vii)             A Best decision is made


What causes analysis paralysis?

Analysis paralysis establishes itself in the inability to make a best with respect to overthinking and over processing the available options, possibilities and data. It's one of the main and major causes for project interruptions, exhausting project level planning sessions (PLP and PLC Processes), the gathering of unnecessary data, and slow movement between every phases or stages.

1.     Personal Analysis:

Causal personal analysis can occur during decision making process. With respect to overwhelming information and data on hand and fear of change or taking decisions, unable to make a rational decision by decision maker.


2.     Conversational Analysis:

 Analysis paralysis can occur at any time regarding any issue in typical conversation and either analysis paralysis or Extinct by Instinct not been predicted by business. It is likely to occur during conversation, elevated and intellectual discussions.  During such intellectual decision-making process or intellectual discussions, analysis paralysis involves the over analysis of a specific issue to that point where that issue can no longer be recognized or accepted, and actually the subject of the conversation is lost. It can also lead to major risk in such large organization. Business analysis core concept model will deliver the best decision during decision making process or intellectual decision-making discussions.


Preventive and Overcoming:

The following possible ways help to prevent or overcome of analysis paralysis and Extinct by Instinct.

1.     Set Limits

2.     Clarify Objectives and Priorities

3.     Perfection is not the key

4.     Incremental development or Agile approach rather than Waterfall, based on methodologies defined in Project Management Plan.

5.     Stakeholders involvement during Analysis Phase.

6.     Defining Scope of the Project.

7.     Define Goals and Deliverables in well advance.

8.     Define the Success Criteria.

9.     Take small Iterative steps


11.Change Number of options.

12.Add or Remove emotion

13.Random selection

14.Talk about it

15.Make your best decision


Business Analysis key Techniques to prevent from Analysis Paralysis and Extinct by Instinct:

The following overall integrated, best and powerful Business Analysis Techniques can be used to make best decision in large organization. These techniques are helpful to avoid 'Analysis Paralysis' and 'Extinct by Instinct'.

1.     Interviews

2.     Legal/Regulatory Information.

3.     Survey or Questionnaire

4.     Workshops

5.     Presentations

6.     Assess Requirements Changes (With respect to Cost and Time estimates, Benefits, Risks, Priority and Course of Action)

7.     Decision Modelling (Decision Trees, Decision Requirements Diagram)

8.     Bench Marking and Market Analysis

9.     Business Cases

10.Business Rules Analysis

11.Data mining


13.Observation: Active/Noticeable, Passive/Unnoticeable.

14.Stake holders List, Map and Personas

Important Business Analysis Techniques Explanation (Random Basis):

i)                   Bench Marking and Market Analysis:

The objective of market analysis is to acquire this information in order to support the various decision-making processes within an organization as well as improve organizational operations, increase customer satisfaction and increase value to respective Stakeholders.


ii)                 Decision Trees/Decision Requirements Diagram:

A decision requirements diagram is a visual representation of the information and data, knowledge, and decision making involved in a more complex business decision.


Key elements: Decisions, Input Data, Business Knowledge Models, and Knowledge Sources.

The above nodes are linked together into a network to show the decomposition of complex decision making into simpler building blocks.


Guideline and Tools:

The following Business guideline and tools can be used to avoid Paralysis Analysis.

1.     Governance Approach

2.     Policies

3.     Validate Performance Measures

With respect to Analysis Paralysis and Extinct by Instinct, the above Business Analysis Guideline & tools and Techniques along with preventive and overcoming ways method will helpful to Organize organization data with high accuracy.  High quality data would be used for data driven decision making which definitely avoid overthinking, over processing, fear of change & confusion and so on.

The respective data outputs/outcome will definitely provide more confidences to Leadership or Decision maker to make effective decision on time with safe and secure manner.    









Thanks and Regards,

Senthilkumar Ganesan,

Email: senthillak@gmail.com

Mobile: +91-7598124052.

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Analysis Paralysis refers to doing over analysis and not taking any decision.

This could also refer to collecting more than enough data, and either due to fear of failure or being more democratic, a decision is not made even after analysis , This will kill time and the effort spend on it.


Extinct by Instinct is referring to not having enough data or not doing the basic home work or research and a decision is not made based on data rather has been made based on internal gut feeling.

Eg: planning to produce and being a market leader in mobile market with a mobile phone without touch screen now based on internal gut feeling can be called as a Extinct by Instinct

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"Paralysis by Analysis"  Versus  " Extinct by Instinct" both relates to extreme corporate behaviour reflected during decision making process and induces significant risk for corporation where such behaviour exists.  Paralysis by analysis implies dead slow decision making progress leading to inaction or no response to situation (e.g., threat, opportunity) by the corporation or its employees. Extinct by instinct implies on the feet decision making by the employees or leaders in the organization relying heavily on their gut feel or intuition. Such decision can come at the cost of inducing significant risk (e.g., betting on a stock purely based on gut in a volatile market) 


Such behaviours are driven by multiple factors and even within an organization/corporation you might see both types of approach along with other approaches which are more balanced.


1. Leader's approach to problem solving (e.g., gut based versus fact based) 

2. Structure of the organization (e.g., concentrated power versus distributed power)

3. Market environment or reaction time available to organization (e.g., battalion in middle of adverse situation)

4. Culture of the organization (e.g., consensus driven across hierarchy versus top down where one man calls the shot)

5. Timely availability and quality of information/fact available (e.g., poor data availability and trust drives one over the other)

6. Impact of the decision/Priority of the issue (e.g., issue of significant impact like M&A)


Paralysis by analysis results in significant slow response time of the organization compared to competition, frustration in the workforce, mis-trust and non alignment between functions and leaders, wastage of organizational resources. This can be solved for via execution focus, since organization is tuned to making decisions based on facts and data


While extinct by instinct approach reduces consistency in performance of organization, un-predictability in the motivation and engagement level of workforce, band aid solutions or issues going unnoticed or hidden. This is a harder situation to solve for, since it driven by autocratic leaders, experience/expertise is valued more then anything else and no structure to decision making process.



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Analysis paralysis is a circumstance in which an individual or group is unable to move forward with a decision as a result of over-scrutinized data or over thinking of a problem. Analysis paralysis can occur with many project decisions, such as accepting or declining projects. The inaction it causes can easily lead to losses in a range of investments or missed chances at larger profits by a person or organization.


Everyone in the organization wants to give a perfect solution, but sometimes fear making a decision that could result in error, while on the way to a better solution. Analysis paralysis can occur in both standard and complex situations. It is often depending on the person, who analysis the data or problem that involves an undefined number of alterable.


Analysis paralysis may lay in when an individual is unsure of the best practices for identifying an outcome. The situation or problem may also involve an undefined number of variables that result in a random outcome with a low degree of confidence. Thus, in some situations analysis paralysis may be the result of an undefined or unspecific outcome.


Extinct by instinct is a situation in which a person or a group making a fatal decision based on hurried or hasty judgment or a gut reaction. Many of the top management sometimes took some decision on their will or gut, without any proper analysis of the data or market survey or not utilizing any SMEs or appropriate tools. The hasty decision sometimes either clicks on target or unfortunate enough to regret.


However successful businesses don’t really belong to the world of these two extremes, in fact the role of the successful person is to walk the thin line down the middle. On one side snap decisions based on our own unsound experience on the other the impotence to make a decision caused by over thinking. 


How to Overcome Analysis Paralysis & Extinct by Instinct


1. Prioritize Your Decisions- Always learn to differentiate between decisions that are vital for your immediate attention and those who you can deal later on the line or track of the organizational goals or objectives.

2. Determine the Goal for Making Each Decision- Sometimes the reason for inability to decide isn’t fear of failure or too much choice; often we just don’t know why we need to make that decision at all. So for this type of particular problems defining goals for making a decision will make it easier to pick from available alternatives. If it’s a low risk decision then keep it lite and if the decision notifies a higher risk means a few more checks are needed.

3. Break Decisions into Smaller Steps- Instead of trying to make a decision in one step, consider breaking it into smaller steps.

4. Forget Perfection- Sometimes, picking a befitting decision is the best decision and ensures that learning from failure should be accepted rather than blame game.

5. Put Healthy Pressure on Yourself and Your Team- If the team is involved in decision making then make them clear before the final session that the decision should be done without any delay during the final meeting. Simultaneously, the team should be empowered to make decisions.












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Analysis Paralysis:

Analysis Paralysis describes when the group of people/ orgainisation or individual spend their time on overthinking or overacting upon the situation the cause paralysis in decision making, that means due to the act of overthinking on the problem instead of looking for the solution, the result will be too complicated or the decision is never taken or there is no solution.

Analysis paralysis may be result of the fear of mistakes, looking for the super extreme solution, or overweighing the possible realistic solutions.

A person/ team or organization will take much time in the decision making, which is due to the fear of making wrong decision or looking for the best solution.


Few Highlights:

1.   Waterfall model in the software development will not allow any changes in the development as they had spent their enough time in planning and executing.In some cases, waterfall model allows analysis paralysis to exist and the desired outcome will not be achieved.

2.   Most of the organization loses their opportunity while delaying their decision due to highly competitive environment.

3.   In typical decision making while they have multiple criteria, due to the lack of skill in multi criteria decision making, organization find difficulty and beats around all criteria instead of making decision which leads to no results.




Extinct by instinct:

‘Extinct by instinct’ is described when the group of people/ orgainisation or individual did not spend their time on analysing, which results in fatal decisions due to hasty decision-making skill.

Extinct by instinct may be result of Gut feel, Instinct, Instant way of decision making, lethargic approach.


Few Highlights:

1.   Some decision has been made without consulting with the key members and leads to failure

2.   Enough amount of value should be analyses before making any decision. When the decision involves financial investment, some structured way of Financial investment analysis (methods like ROI, NPV, Breakeven etc) should be done.



Extinct by instinct is opposite extreme to the Analysis paralysis, but in the organization or in decision making in any sector or by individual, both the extremes of decision making should be avoided as both will result in unreliable or fatal solution and even sometimes without solution.



Ways/tips to overcome:

1.   Remember nothing is perfect. During worl war II, when the team spend most of their time on design changes on landing craft, Winston had mentioned ‘ Nothing avails but perfection’ can be spelt shorter as ‘ paralysis’.

2.   In terms of investment analysis, use of structured approach of financial investment analysis such as ROI, NPV, Breakeven.

3.   Collect more information.

4.   Make your objectives very clear. Clarify your priorities.

5.   Improve the communication. Talk about it and discuss as much as possible.

6.   Limit the number of solution and also set limit to the time “set a deadline , hold yourself and your team as responsible”

7.   In case of multicriteria decision making, use systematic ways such as AHP.

8.   Make the best decision

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Analysis Paralysis is a phenomenon by which decision makers tend to overthink / over-analyze the situations and prone to be inconclusive in making a decision. This delayed decision-making scenarios vary from minor decisions in day-to-day operations to a strategic planning for a long term business continuity. Often the cost of over analysing and delaying a decision might far outweigh the damages inflicted by the timely incorrect decision. There are several factors that cause this paralysis:

1.     Over analysis of data /abundance of trivial data

2.     Extrapolation of data over a long horizon

3.     Being over cautious about uncertainties


Extinct by instinct on the other hand implies an arbitrary decision making as a result of largely irrational process. This kind of pitfall mostly occurs when decision makers rely heavily on intuition. In this spectrum, decision makers do not value the significance data analysis, assumptions and uncertainties while making decision. Often brainstorming, What-if scenarios, forecasts and other valuable decision tools are over-looked. There are several causes for this instinctive behaviour:

1.     Assumption that future is same as the past

2.     Incompetent statistical data analytics

3.     Cognitive bias

4.     Experience and gut-feeling


These two contradicting pitfalls constitute the opposite ends in the decision-making spectrum. Corporate decisions typically lie within these two extremes. Corporate decision makers must be wary of these two pitfalls while making decisions in order to avoid them.


Typical corporate behaviours associated with Analysis Paralysis / Extinct by Instinct

1.     Late Adoption

Companies suffering from “Paralysis in analysis” tend to be late adoptors / laggards in the innovation curve and hence bound to suffer a huge blow due to its off-time. One can recall mobile phone giant “Nokia” finding its graveyard in the smartphone market due to its late market adoption. In contrast, companies such as Xiaomi tasted its success when they adopted their business model to lure the Indian customer market, which highly embraced the ecommerce and luxury smartphones at an affordable price.

2.     Diversification

Some corporates exhibit diversification strategy to pursue aggressive growth. They invest a huge capital in large scale acquisitions and different industries. Such growth comes at a price which cannot be substantiated by the marginal benefits. In other words, the combined value of the firm decreases after a series of diversification. In most cases, such firms do not evaluate the internal competencies, market risks, competitors, and external threats. Extinct by instinct is the common trap these companies fall into. Once a $42 billion business empire, Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADAG has eroded its value to zero in nearly twelve years. The finance and telecomm giant, driven by growth appetite, went into bankruptcy as a result of series of rapid cash-burning acquisitions resulting in diminishing returns.


There are some ways to avoid these two decision making errors in corporate decision process:

1.     Deploy business modelling techniques such as Monte Carlo simulation

2.     Encourage data-driven decision making across the business

3.     Perform SWOT, identify cultural and strategic fit from the business context

4.     Identify growth enablers, inhibitors, market disruptors and build a dynamic business model

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“Decisions are the hardest thing to make, Especially when it is a choice.”


Analysis Paralysis and extinct by instinct both are two opposite sides of a coin. Where Analysis Paralysis is over analysing a situation so that a decision or action is never taken. Most of the corporates face this type of situation when they keep on thinking for even taking small steps or making decisions. In this scenario, Organizations bear losses of new businesses, potential customers and the money of course, which they could have earn.

 While on the other hand Extinct by instinct refers to making a fatal decision based on gut reaction. This kind of behaviour is also very hazardous for organizations. When management make decisions without analysing the situation just by gut feeling. In this case, if the decision turns good, then they make profits and if it turns to bad then it becomes disaster.

Both types of behaviours are not good for organizations. So, must be avoided and only a balanced approach should be used on the basis of Analysis and calculations.

Factors that affect the Quantity of analysis can be understood as

Paralysis Analysis

1.    Wide Spread

2.    Diffuse

3.    Divergent

4.    Consensual/Passive

5.    Analytical

Extinction by instinct

1.    Limited

2.    Concentrated

3.    Convergent

4.    Autocratic

5.    Intuitive

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What is Analysis paralysis??

Analysis paralysis happens when overanalyses or overthinking prevents a person or group from making a decision.

This phenomenon can occur when an individual is not sure of the best method/practice for reaching a decision.

e.g. In investing, analysis paralysis can lead to missed opportunities for gains or to losses.

What is 'Extinct by Instinct??

Extinct by Instinct means that poor or fatal decisions or conclusions are reached based on hasty or incomplete assessment of the available data or gut feelings.

Actually Analysis Paralysis and Extinct by Instinct both are fatal for any decision whether it is personal or Business decision.


Highlight the typical corporate behaviours for Analysis Paralysis and 'Extinct by Instinct why it should be avoided??

Analysis paralysis exhibits itself in the inability to make a decision due to overthinking the available alternatives, possibilities and data. It results in following corporate behaviours

Project delays,
Exhausting project planning sessions
Gathering of unnecessary data
Slow movement between production stages.
Series of meetings without end decisions.

Many business leaders do not choose a path based on solid analysis of data, but on pure intuition or gut . Whether due to laziness, need for speed or scepticism as to how meaningful insights from data can be used  and result of this whole business get suffer. The key element of any strategy for avoiding extinction by instinct is to instil checks and balances into the system so that people must think through their ideas and analysis.

How to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

1. Define priority

2. Define end Goal for each Decision

3. Define micro level steps for Decisions

4. Forget Perfection

5. Healthy Pressure On Team

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Analysis paralysis refers to a condition when team is not able to move ahead with a decision of over analysis of the available data


Extinct by Instinct refers to deadly decisions made based on wrong or incomplete understanding of available information or data


Above both can be overcome by below solutions, 

1. Prioritizing and sequencing of your decisions.
2. Sub division of decisions
3. Forgot targeted solutions.
4. Find out the aim for making each decision criteria.

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Paralysis by analysis – data driven decision making is becoming increasingly popular in organizations. But to what limit should we depend on data analysis to make decisions? Scenarios abound where the main objective of data analysis end up being defeated because of nothing else but excessive analysis. What should ideally bring clarity becomes the cause of confusion. Typical situations of paralysis by analysis are;

a.       Dialogue of the deaf – To get approval for certain actions, much data analysis is done to justify such decisions higher management. Unfortunately in many cases, the higher hierarchy already has a strong opinion about the subject matter unknown to the subordinates. People continue to prepare more reports which are more likely to be ignored. In some cases, managers may even find it easier to request more and more analysis instead of directly rejecting proposals.

b.       The vicious cycle – In situations where there is wide participation and a diffuse power structure, where many people at the same level have equal say in decision making, paralysis by analysis often manifests. Proponents and opponents of a decision conduct many analyses to support their position, and it becomes very difficult to build any consensus because the parties involved don’t even trust each other’s data.

c.       The decision vacuum – This normally happens when the decision maker and the data analyst are not in sync. Many organizations create departments solely for the purpose of data analysis, but people in such departments don’t really influence any decisions being made in the organization because there is a disconnect between the decision makers’ priority and that of the data analysis team.


Extinct by instinct – This is the opposite end of the spectrum, where decisions are taken without sufficient analysis. Decision makers form a kind of solidarity, refusing to explore negative possibilities in the process of decision making. Hasty decisions are often poorly thought out, and are most likely to result in a dead end when eventually implemented. Examples are discussed below;

a.       The dominant leader – Subordinates are afraid to question the thoughts of a dominant leader. CEOs for instance wield a lot of power in organizations, and people under them may find it difficult to challenge whatever they say especially when such leader has a reputation of not welcoming opposite opinions. Overtime, members of the team become “yes men” and just rubber stamp whatever the leader decides.

b.       Parallel power – This happens when some individuals or group even though not high in the hierarchy, are powerful enough to decide and implement whatever they want without recourse to others’ opinion. Such power come sometimes because of privileged access to the highest authority or because of some specialized expertise. For instance, Senior managers may accept ideas from lower-level managers that are not necessarily in the company’s interests, either because they do not know enough to ask the right questions, or because opposition would not seem legitimate.

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Decision Making can be combination of Logic and Emotions.


Analysis paralysis is Overanalyzing/Overthinking (Drowning in Data)
Extinct by Instinct is taking decisions by Gut reaction (Disregarding the Data B)


Overanalyzing or Overthinking can hinder the productivity

  • It lowers performance on mentally demanding jobs
  • There is high possibility that overthinking can kill creativity
  • It pulls willpower of the individual
  • It makes people less happy

Organizations carrying excessive formal analysis is labeled as “dialogue of the deaf,” the “vicious circle,” and the “decision vacuum.”


AI and ML tools can help in interpreting big data and it can be wisely leveraged in this technology era rather than overanalyzing.


Some tips to overcome Overthinking:

  • Structure and Plan decisions that matter the most
  • Deliberately limit information intake
  • Set a target deadline for Research
  • Focus on primary objective and try not to deviate
  • Discuss, collaborate and be open to take inputs from others
  • Approach problem solving with an iterative mindset and
  • Finally, practice making decision quickly

On the other extreme, Extinct by Instinct, that is decisions without assessment and just by Gut feeling can be Fatal.

Fatal is all aspects,
For example:
Stepping over the line in personal relationships
Lack of spending control in Finances
Ignoring the impacts in Health
Not using wisely, the Time


Malcolm Gladwell argues in his book, Blink, that the quick decision–the “snap” judgment–is much maligned.


Below is the reference grid indicating problem solving and decision-making styles.


Organization’s should leverage technology and wisely make decision. It should not get drenched into data pool as well as not discount the data. 



"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done" – Lee

At the same time,


“Quick decisions are unsafe decisions” – Sophocles

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Analysis paralysis:


Analysis paralysis means inability to make a decision on a particular issue in one’s personal life or in a corporate world, especially pertaining to some  complex issues, associated with uncertainty or risks. This is attributed to overthinking or overanalyzing data pertaining to the issue. 


The possible causes may be:

-       Overwhelming  incoming data or with large number of options or possible solutions associated with the issues.

-       Inexperience to handle the data/information

-       Extensive  experience in data  analysis  and  generating a large number of solutions at each step.

-       Tremendous risks or uncertainties involved

-       Striving for perfection


There may be overwhelming amount of data to anlyze, 

The data may be financial  data, some health related data  etc., in paper or electronic format- graphs, spreadsheets, reports etc. There may be a trend analysis involved in the analytical process.

The typical process is


Collect data  -------- > Analyze data ----------- >Make decision---------->  Action


In Analysis paralysis, the process gets stuck up at Analyze data step, so rather than going forward, more and more data is collected to analyze further. So a loop is created between these two steps and no decision gets made, leading to process paralysis.



Three different types of analysis paralysis are:


·      Analysis process paralysis:  Paralysis is at analyse data step, much time is wasted in going over the information again and again.

·      Decision precision analysis: decision makers, rather than going over the same information again and again, th seek new information and data, to explore further, rather than making a decision.

·      Risk uncertainty paralysis: Decision makers want to  get rid of all uncertainties/risks, but the information available is not sufficient enough to do that. So decision making is postponed.


Common examples of analysis paralysis are:


-       Dealing with something unusual or new things, with no prior experience

-       Decisions with associated significant risks, such as human life or financial stability at risk or political influence

-       Decisions on pricing for the products.


Possible outcomes of analysis paralysis:


-       Extension of deadlines

-       Loss of opportunities- Opportunity cost

-       Loss of trust of stakeholders, teammembers

-       Project failure

-       Significant impact on financial stability and in worst scenario can lead to loss of human life in health related issues.


Ways to avoid analysis paralysis:

-       Making smaller decisions and decisions with less risk

-       Use of more trustworthy data

-       Use experts to Interpret the data

-       Have a backup plan, if the decision turns out to be a bad one.

-       Choosing two or three best possible solutions and rethinking between them to choose the best decision/solution

-       Agile methodology with iterative steps and more emphasis on functionality(value creation), rather than product specification. 



Extinct by instinct: It is the opposite phenomenon to analysis paralysis, where hasty and careless  decisions are taken, just by one’s own instinct or in a corporate, without doing  thorough analysis and  risk assessment.


Extinct by instinct phenomenon can be the consequence of ‘GroupThink’ phenomenon , where a group usually  takes a  quick, unanimous decision, without any detailed analysis and by conviction of majority of the group members and others who are opposed to it, just give a nod to the decision, for the sake of  maintaining good will and groupvalue. 


The major fall out of  Extinct by Instinct:


-       High risk of turning to be a bad decision, significantly impacting the stability, financial and other key performance indicators of an individual or corporate.

-       High risk of project failures with significant monetary loss.


Ways to prevent Extinction by Instinct:


-       Data and information analysis to be made before making any decision.

-       Detailed risk analysis of any decision to be done, before implementing it.

-       Group thinking phenomenon to be checked, decision based on scientific analysis to be implemented.



So it is very important to  avoid both  contrasting phenomenon- Analysis paralysis and Extinct by Instinct phenomenon and rather a mid state has to be maintained, with prudent decision to be taken based on detailed analysis, but without get stuck at analysis step and  making a best possible decision, before the projected deadline.

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Information – information relieves uncertainty. Information gathering may be proactive as people use analysis to help them to reflect on an issue. Other time it is reactive as people seek information to verify other ideas.


Analysis paralysis (or paralysis by analysis) describes an individual or group process when overanalysing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision making become "paralysed", meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon.


Paralysis by Analysis – The three situations in which organisations can carry out excessive formal analysis :

  • Exchange of documents and reports between hierarchical levels within an organisation
    • People believe they know what to do and carryout analysis to justify their project or point, but they are unable to force the issue onto the organisation agenda because participates in other level are either indifferent or opposed. Repetitive analysis on same leads to nowhere because the parties simply don’t understand each other.
    • To avoid situation organisation could develop greater sensitivity to top management concern and organisation objective.
  • The vicious circle
    • Internal disagreement between department. People trying to block each other. It usually happens when there is wide participation and a diffuse of power structure. Each side of the department tries to bring large amount of analysis to convince each other on top of that senior management also perform the analysis to reach at a consensus and to clarify the direction.
    • To avoid – Both sides of the department always need to consider whether their debate really focuses on facts and fundamental values and objectives of the organisation
  • Decision Vacuum
    • People who perform the analysis don’t have personal vision usually the analysis is always delegated to someone other than the decision maker. The decision maker thinking was often out of phase with the analytical work being done
    • To avoid – to minimize the situation organization need to create nuclei of key people within the department or unit


Extinct by Instinct -  Group thinking as a major cause of poor decision making  for example when everyone in power instinctively shares the same opinion of an issue.


The key element of any strategy to avoid extinction by instinct is to implement checks and balances into system so that people must think through their ideas

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Analysis paralysis will be used to prescribe the path affects the workplace productivity but sometimes due to complicated problem and overthinking of a situation leads to no solution definition or course of action defined while Extinct by Instinct reflects wrong or poor decisions taken based on incomplete interpretation of available data.

Many times corporate follows Analysis paralysis where just simple solution has to be applied to solve the problem but in place of that overthinking of a situation not leads to proper solution. while in case of Extinct by instinct corporate many times made a decision which is not data driven or fact based which leads to fatal decision based on judgement.


Both should be avoided in corporate as both can leads to wrong solution of a problem as stated above.

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Analysis paralysis and extinct by instinct are related to the application of the over- and underuse of formal analysis arising out of both the situation’s like excessive analysis and insufficient analysis respectively. On subject perspective, paralysis by analysis would be coupled mostly with individuals who are unsurprisingly drawn to figures, while other one extinction by instinct would relate to impulsive corporate team with instinctive cognitive styles.
In organisation, sources responsible to make these extremes likely to happen are frequently structural, simply exhorting corporate to be analytical is unlikely to solve the problem. Consideration must be given to deeper structural and cultural issues. Moreover, the apparent solution to one problem may lead the corporate to the opposite one in nature in which a well-adjusted & efficient decision making is a complex balancing act that requires frequent judgement and repositioning.
In the decision-making process, corporate should have a behaviour of pacing an acceptable edge between an unnatural fascination with figures, examines and information leading to ‘’paralysis by analysis’’ and ill-conceived, chance decisions paving their way to ‘’extinction by instinct’’.
The systematic decision making through careful study on issues can help organizations make better decisions rather than a wishful thinking.

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Analysis Paralysis and

When an individual or group of people spent too much time on Overanalyzing/Overthinking on a situation which delays the process of decision-making is called as Analysis Paralysis.

This may happen when situation is too complicated, and Decision-Maker wants to take the perfect decision to tackle that problem.  So, in the process of finding perfect solution they miss to take any decision which may lead to larger problem.


Extinct by Instinct

When any decision which is taken in hast or by gut feeling that is called as Extinct by Instinct.

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While all published answers are correct, Shashikant Adlakha, Senthilkumar G and Mala Pulickel have provided the best answer. Congratulations to all!

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