In Action, Change, Leaders

“Few days are sunny.  Few days are perfect.  Instead, most days have something wrong with them, us, or others.  Stop waiting for perfect days and start marching forward.” – Jim Collins

Early in my career, I thought the most important part of my job was going to be helping leaders figure out what they and their organizations needed to do to be successful.  My belief was that if you could just help leaders get pointed in the right direction, they’d make sure things got done.

While that’s certainly been important, it hasn’t been the most important challenge.  A large percentage of leaders already know what they and their organizations need to do to be successful.  The real challenge is actually doing those things.

I don’t just mean that it’s a challenge to get the desired results.  I’m talking even more basic than that.  The reality is that even though a large percentage of leaders know what they and their organizations need to do, they don’t ever really start trying to do it.  They talk about it, analyze it, maybe complain about it, and ten years later it still hasn’t gotten off the ground.

I’m not a psychologist, but my observation is that it’s all about fear.  Fear of failure, fear of looking stupid, fear of not living up to expectations.  To avoid that fear, leaders spend huge chunks of their careers waiting for the perfect situation to try and make change.  Of course, the perfect situation never comes and the change doesn’t happen.

It’s almost like people think that, even though the current situation is unsatisfactory, they’d rather not change anything because there’s the possibility that change might make it worse.  The devil you know is better than the one you don’t.  Of course, there’s also the possibility that change might make it better.  Why don’t we focus on that?

Think about a change or initiative you’ve been avoiding.  Something you know you really need to do, but you aren’t doing it.  What’s holding you back?  If you’re afraid of what happens if you fail, or if you do the wrong thing, or you’re waiting for the perfect moment, stop yourself.  Get out a piece of paper and write down five things that will be better if you actually make that change.  Focus on the real, tangible benefits of making that change.  Think about all the good that change can actually do.

Your business will never be what you want it to be if you don’t do the things you need to do to make that happen.  You probably already know what those things are.  Don’t wait any longer.  Get started today.

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