Many a rainy Saturday in place of doing that home improvement thingy, visiting a friend or going to a movie – I have elected to do nothing. On a personal level I support you all and appreciate your support.
In business, I do not support that choice
– a new market
– how to respond to a competitive threat
– a market shift
– a customer complaint
– growing faster or slower than forecast
– improving a process, product or service
– acquiring or being acquired
- approve the change
- new market, responding, answering, expediting/slowing, optimizing, buying or selling
- reject the change
- either back to the drawing board or select another option
- do nothing
Both 1 and 2 require a risk to be taken a reward to be gained.
Number 3 avoids risk.
See with 1 or 2 the person proposing the change has in some level of detail (or lack there of) stated the risks and how their proposal will over come identified risks. Along with the rewards – ROI via growth of revenue and/or profit.
There is also yourself as the approving business leader or your devil’s advocate
will provide the counter argument
stating by rejecting this change in place of another option that has either or both a higher ROI and less risk.
Strangely, rarely have I seen where number 3 is evaluated with the same detail.
The main exception is related to compliance requirements where the do nothing risk is a fine or worse.
As such, choosing ‘do nothing‘ is horrible for your business. The choice is not based what is better for your business as you have no evidence (risk analysis or ROI) that it is a good choice. It certainly is not a bold choice.
Yet, with only the evidence of my experience and those conversations with colleagues and friends, I would submit that ‘do nothing’ is the most often option that business leaders choose.
Leaders need to be aware of the risk of this avoidance behavior. It is not safe, it is backing yourself into a corner.
Business leaders who are proposing changes, need to account for ‘do nothing‘ as a competing option to that new market, competitive response and other changes they are striving to accomplish.
Oh yeah, delaying a decision
- putting off to next quarter due to other priorities
- looking at this at the end of the year
- requesting the proposal to be more detailed
- need to add additional options
is the same as ‘do nothing‘. Just ‘do nothing‘ now, but we really plan to