Safety is important (and not the point of this post) so please realize that I am stretching this metaphor. Action is the point of this post. The entire time you wait for the traffic light, the expectation is that when you get your ‘green,’ you will take action. But how many times have we sat in traffic waiting for the first in line at the light to lead us toward our destinations? More importantly, how many times have you been first in line, yet hesitated when the light turned green? What did you expect? You know the pattern: yellow, red, green. Yet you continue to sit still when the light changes, more often than not accompanied by a symphony of horns behind you.
Many times in business (and in life, but I am no life coach as you recall) we are the most well informed in the room. In our fields of expertise, I would hope that would be the case. We evaluate scenarios and options diligently, then plan strategy and supporting tactics based on the possible outcomes. Finally, once all the data (or enough of it) is in, rather than take the action we planned, many of us freeze.
If you are going to spend the time to plan action, take action. I know this seems contrarian to the countless posts about measuring twice and cutting once and an ounce of prevention and all that, but in business, rewards go to those unafraid to act. While self-scouting is admirable (and advisable) and review is always a great tool to improve future decisions, stop doing double takes at every decision point. You will have your red lights and yellow lights for planning and revision. There will be times when new data comes in late and throws up an unexpected yield sign, but make sure that’s the exception, not the rule.
And for the love of god, in business and on the road, when the light turns green – GO!
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