“When a problem exists, whether in personnel or in business operations, the time to act is now.”
If a swift response is better than trying to pretend problems do not exist, then why do so many people wait to act when they see that something isn’t working well?
In my years of coaching people, I have come to believe that there are just a few reasons that most people don’t act when faced with a problem.
- They hope the problem will solve itself if they wait long enough
- They don’t know what to do (and they don't want others to know that)
- They fear the solution may be more uncomfortable than the problem
- They choose not to see the problem as a problem (rose colored glasses)
Let’s take a look at these things one at a time:
Hoping the problem will solve itself
I’m sure we’ve all tried this strategy at some point in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I can safely say that I haven’t gotten the best results with this one. By and large, the problem has remained or (in many cases) gotten bigger. What could have been resolved with minimal hassle often becomes an issue that requires time and resources that could have been better utilized if action had been taken right away.
Not knowing what to do
Most of us have been here, too, at some point. There is a pervasive myth that says we ought to magically know everything when we’re in a position of leadership. Nothing could be further from the truth. No matter what we do, there is a learning curve. One sign of confident leader is knowing when to ask for input to make the best decision possible. Having good advisors and good people working with and for us is an important part of being an effective leader.
Fear of the unknown
Some folks tend to worry about what could go wrong if they make a change. Others are more inclined to focus on what could go right. There is always some risk that things could turn out badly when we make a change. However, if we do our homework and apply that information to do what we can to reduce risk, we can generally move forward in a positive direction. If we don’t act to resolve a problem, continued issues are practically assured. If we act, even if we don’t get it just right with the first attempt, we can make progress.
Looking through rose-colored glasses
Last, but not least, are the people who do their best to downplay the impact of a bad situation - even when the negative impacts are glaringly obvious. They will tell me over and over that it’s not that bad, even when the consequences are significant. In some cases, I think leaders feel like they’ve failed if they have an issue. In other cases, I think it is one of the above scenarios. It is important to remember that the only people who don’t make mistakes are those who don’t do anything. Trial and error is a part of life. If we learn from our errors, and move forward more effectively as a result, then we have succeeded.
Chances are there is at least one thing in your business and/or personal life that could use some attention. Remember: The time to act is now!
Just do it!
I invite you to look at one of those things and commit to take action today. Not acting when we know we need to can create unnecessary stress. Life, by its very nature, has enough of that. It doesn’t serve us to create more.
Wishing you positive movement in at least one area of your life because you chose to act today!
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