As a Junior Intelligence Analyst, I remember my instructors reinforcing timeliness and accuracy as the two fundamental aspects of good Intelligence.
I remember being constantly told, “often the 80% solution on time is better than the 100% solution too late.”
I’ll admit, at first I didn’t fully understand what this meant. However, years later I’ve released just how valuable this advice truly is!
Here’s why; Intelligence is only effective if it is actionable.
I learnt early in my career that ‘Sitting’ on information or waiting could have potentially disastrous results.
Intelligence Officers / Analysts (by our very nature) like to collect as much information as possible.
We (Intelligence professionals) like to take our sweet time in researching and deliberating information until we’re individually satisfied and feel like we understand everything. The problem with this approach, however, is that sometimes this isn’t conducive to timely dissemination of information.
Sometimes, there might only be a matter of hours (or perhaps minutes) before a decision is required!
So today, I’m sharing an important lesson I learnt all those years ago…
Often the 80% solution on time is better than the 100% solution too late.
Good Intelligence Analysts understand that no matter how much time you have, you’re never going to know everything!
The key to good Intelligence Analysis is balancing the accuracy of your assessment with the time available.
So, the next project or task you start, identify firstly how much time you have allocated to complete it, and what exactly is required. Whether you have an hour, a day or a week, provide the 80% solution on time, rather than striving for the perfect solution too late.
Have you used this tactic successfully? Or do you often work past your deadlines? Let us know when you’ve successfully applied the 80% on-time principal and how our readers can become more efficient intelligence professionals and increase their skills!