In Action, Change

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” – John F. Kennedy

I was going to start this week’s post talking about a client of ours who struggles to “do” anything. They talk and talk without it ever amounting to any action. There’s always too much uncertainty, nobody knows for sure what’s going to happen, they’re all afraid to take a risk, so everybody agrees not to commit to anything.

As I thought about it though, I realized it wouldn’t be fair to single them out. The reality is that nearly all of us do that to some degree. We think we’re pretty good at what we’re doing right now (even if the data suggests otherwise), we’re not sure we’d ever be able to do anything else successfully, so we just stay in our comfort zones. And very little in our businesses (and our lives) ever really changes.

The problem is the world changes. For example, just because you’ve always marketed your products and services a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the only way to do it – in fact, in today’s world if you’re marketing what you do the same way you always have, you’re probably ten years behind (at least). I look at the way some businesses go about finding talent. They complain about their people, then when they want to hire people they look in the same places and follow the same processes that led them to hire the people they’re complaining about in the first place.

No, you’ll never have absolute certainty about the changes you need to make. Nobody has a crystal ball that says that if you just make this change, everything will work out perfectly. Sometimes when you make change it doesn’t work out at all. There is always some risk.

But you can’t let that stop you. You can’t let the possibility that it might not work out keep you from trying to move forward. In fact, I think the healthiest organizations are regularly doing things that don’t work out. If you don’t ever fail, if you don’t ever try something that doesn’t work, then chances are you’re not trying to make enough change.

Take time to think about what needs to change in your organization. Do the research you need to do, make sure it’s strategically sound, etc. But then do it already. The world is not going to wait for you to get everything lined up perfectly. You can’t just sit there. Move!

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