The Cost of Doing Nothing

nothing2Have you ever heard the saying there is no such thing as a free lunch? I think it’s meant to convey the fact that nothing is really free. Every thing costs somebody something. Just because you didn’t pay for it doesn’t mean that someone else didn’t.

Well, I have some even worse news. Not only is nothing free, it turns out that even nothing costs something. Worse than that, nothing could be the most expensive thing you ever do. Or perhaps I should say, don’t do.

Let me explain. Suppose you’re a leader within an organization. You become aware of a problem, issue, concern or challenge that needs YOUR attention. This is a kind of messy problem and it is your “hope” that it would just go away. (tip: they never do)

You have an idea of what needs to be done but you’re just sort of stuck, you can’t make yourself do it. So you do nothing.

The problem gets worse. Often times you’re the last to know it’s gotten worse. That’s because the only way you can keep yourself from doing something is to ignore the problem. You become so good at ignoring the problem that you don’t even see it growing until it blows up in your face.

It’s then that you realize the true cost of doing nothing.

Almost all big problems started out as small problems. They are fertilized by no decisions and watered by no actions. They grow like weeds.

Some leaders grow problems but authentic leaders deal with them before they have the chance to grow. They know that the problem they don’t want to deal with today will only be bigger tomorrow.

If you’re in a leadership position, any level of leadership position, I can almost promise you there is some issue, problem or concern that you have been avoiding. It might be a personnel issue, a quality issue, a personal issue or some other business issue. Whatever it is, don’t let even one more day pass before you deal with it.

Failure to face our challenges results in real expense, it could be the loss of productivity, the loss of morale in your organization, lost business, or the loss of a key employee.

Whatever the cost of solving the problem in the short term, the cost of doing nothing is almost always higher. So have a good honest talk with yourself right now and commit to make that problem you’ve been avoiding go away once and for all.