Procrastination and egos cost businesses…
“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.”
Elbert Hubbard : writer, publisher and philosopher
How often, as business owners and managers do we procrastinate on making decisions because of the feared consequences?
Sometimes we procrastinate making the most obvious decisions and further compound indecision by allowing our egos to rule rather than practical common sense. Let me give you an example.
Recently a friend was caught up in a situation that not only cost the business significant money but was a major distraction for the business in general. An employee who was still within their probationary period was responsible for bullying two other employees causing them to leave. Despite advice that the offender should be terminated without recourse as they were within their probationary period, the owner procrastinated and the offending employee remained employed after their probationary period. The owner then decided to act on the advice and terminate the employee, who immediately filed for ‘unfair dismissal’. Australia’s employment laws make it quite difficult to terminate employees after their probationary and court imposed penalties are high.
The owner was advised to make a one off payment to make the problem ‘go away’. He refused, stating it was against his principles to make such a payment. Lawyers were engaged, time was spent to present the case to the government tribunal and everybody was distracted. The indirect cost was considerable. The offender then doubled their demand for ‘go away’ money. The final outcome was a large legal bill, plus a payout to the ‘offender’ and wasted time and effort by the business owner and advisors.
All this was avoidable. The offender should have been terminated within their probation period. Their actions had already resulted in two long term employees leaving the business which was poor management. The second piece of advice to pay out the claim would have also solved the problem. However, pride and ego rather than common sense ruled the roost.
In business sometimes we have to put our pride and ego aside and make a decision that is best for the business. I have been guilty of this in my career, however several painful experiences have caused me to reflect my actions.
Can you think of an example where you procrastinated or allowed your ego to either delay making a decision or discarded common sense advice and made the wrong decision?