The Demons of Delay: And 5 Rewards for Taking Courageous Action

Inaction is more expensive than you realize.

I don’t say that to scare you, just to remind you that courageous, intentional action is always rewarded. (And you delay standard-raising decisions to your detriment.)

Think about the last time you had a strong feeling to do something–make an improvement, elevate to a new standard, take new territory, upgrade a system, get rid of a “wrong person”, take a calculated risk, etc. Did you delay? And when you actually made the decisions and took the action, you probably thought…

I wish I would have acted sooner. 

Hesitation is not your friend. Here are the Demons of Delay:

Momentum Suck. Momentum is leaking out your back door. You might not realize it, but people feel it. Even your loyal people want to feel like the thing they are devoting their life to is moving in the right direction. Note: Energy is produced by…

    1. Things working
    2. Sales increasing
    3. Enthusiastic people
    4. More efficient processes
    5. Implementation of new ideas
    6. A sense of togetherness and rowing in the same direction

Paralysis by Analysis. “I need to do some more research” is usually code for, “I don’t feel ready to pull the trigger, so I’ll wait and see if lightening strikes or if there’s divine inspiration convincing me to go in one way or another.” Set a reasonable time period for “research” and stick to it. Otherwise, research creeps into inaction, often a result of…

    1. Too much information
    2. Too many options
    3. An excuse not to make a decision or go with your gut

Lack of Energy. You’ll find your meetings losing energy and your people seemingly suffering from a lack of motivation. There might be a sense of “Here-we-go-again-another-opportunity-missed-or-possibility-not-followed-through.” Eventually, people will check-out, emotionally, or just leave. Kill that pattern now.

Do this…

  • Choose an empowering path, with the best information available to you at this moment.
  • Get the critical people on board, invite them to play their part.
  • Take the next right action and commit to figuring it out from there.

The only way to start is to start. You don’t have to know how the journey will unfold. All you have to know is your best guess, best judgment at this moment. And you will learn more as you go. Pivoting as necessary. But move! You can’t steer a parked car. Life is generous to the leaders who take hopeful, bold actions for the greater good.

On the positive side, here’s what changes–for GOOD–when you make the decision and spring into action:

You move forward faster. There is a “there” you’re hoping to get to, and you’re not making any progress when you hesitate. A year from now, you’ll either be closer to your vision or not. Closer is better. Start now.

You rally the troops. People want to be part of something that’s moving forward, not stuck in place. (Of course, they don’t want whiplash from jumping from thing to thing, so don’t do that. But if you’ve been stuck, stalled or slow, this is your inspiration to move.)

You initiate new momentum. We like new, next, forward, upward, and action. Our eyes are in front of our heads, Our arms and legs swing forward. Our noses point the way. We are wired for forward, positive motion. The laws of nature come to our aid when we take action. Momentum is generated when our intentions are clear.

We fail faster–and adjust. Things will not be perfect. But they will be positive. Set-backs become stepping stones. Messes become messages to learn from. Even closed doors lead to new openings and opportunities to exploit.

You build the muscles of movement. Train your business–your people–to be those who do the work, make the moves, find the answers, find solutions, and get things done. Just like working out, physically, you are training your personnel to be the way you want them to be–active, problem-solvers who move the ball forward. Train. Build the muscles that lead to growth and momentum.

Fight the Demons of Delay and take action now. Sure, you might have a misstep. But the sooner you move, the sooner you know. And the sooner you’ll reach your goals. Period.

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