Thursday, March 24, 2016

Not to Decide is to Decide

By John Trimble


I first saw the expression “Not to decide is to decide” on a placard at a church youth group meeting as a freshman in High School. I found it chilling and it basically scared the crap out of me. It was different than your other motivational propaganda swill like “This is the first day of the rest of your life” or equally inane Captain Obvious mini mantras. This one struck home.

The reason was that it was true and I knew it. Personal decisions, career choices, everything from the superficial thinking of asking someone out and then delaying (what, she’s dating who?) to gut churning, life shaping, career navigations (I should have applied when?) Big, small, all dependent on both the right decision and – here is the pain part – the need to decide in time to avoid having your options degraded or disappear.

If I delay I risk loss. If I act I risk the bad choice. Both hitting against the natural human backdrop of,”I don’t want to act right now because I can justify the heck out of more time for contemplation and honestly, I wasn’t really planning to make that effort today."

You kick that decision moment down the road until – funny thing – the need to decide has passed, because that moment, that opportunity or even the possibly dodged bullet has passed. Now you will never know and you are both relieved and disappointed. In fact you did decide. Your personal status quo won.

Companies and organizations are no different. Managers and executives share the same low frequency hum of angst and guilt on not acting, not deciding promptly enough to maximize their choices and growth, to avoid bad things. Corporate horror shows rarely appear as overnight disasters, they more resemble the creeping lava flow that you know will come and burn down the village…eventually. But that lava is coming.

Not to decide is to decide is a cautionary saying on a wall. Heeding that in one area can be as simple as deciding to jump start a discussion on automating your business processes with IOS. After talking to us and the stories we will share we might even decide together that doing nothing for right now is not even OK, it is more than OK, it’s the right thing to do. But you decided.

No more chill.

Go ahead, give us your biggest problem.

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