In Action, Change, Leaders

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.  Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Almost everyone likes to brag about their work ethic, or at least likes to feel pretty good about it.  I can’t remember the last time I heard a leader say “Boy, I sure don’t work very hard” or “Wow, I can’t believe how lazy I am.”  And their usually correct.

But just because we’re working hard – or think we are – doesn’t mean we’re effective.  Too many times we’re really busy doing stuff that doesn’t matter.  And the worst part of that is that, quite often, we know it.

We all understand the things we’re supposed to do as leaders.  We know there are strategic decisions to make.  We know there are actions we need to take.  We know there are challenging conversations we need to have.

But, so often, we don’t actually do those things.  Decisions eventually get made for us because we avoid them long enough that all options are eliminated but one, and so we just do whatever’s left.  We put off taking action until eventually that action is no longer relevant.  We delay having important conversations until the perfect time, and that time never comes, and the relationship is never what it needs to be.

We avoid all of those things, generally, out of fear.  We’re afraid we’re going to decide or act or speak incorrectly, so we put it off.  We make lost of excuses, but at the core, it’s fear.

What are you not currently doing that needs to be done?  What decision has been waiting to be made for too long?  What action do you really need to take that you’ve been not taking?  What relationship is currently not what it should be?

If you’re completely honest with yourself, there is probably a laundry list of things that you’ve been avoiding.  Some leaders’ lists are longer than others, but there’s always something.  Some leaders are great at attacking things in their personal lives but not so much at work, and some are the other way around.  Regardless, important things aren’t getting done.

Don’t worry about doing all of those important things today.  Just pick one.  Pick one decision, or one action, or one conversation.  Think about how great it would be to mark that off the list, and then do it.  If you just identify one thing off that avoidance list every week, think about how much change would result.  Take the leap.

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