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Sometimes Doing Nothing Is the Best Course of Action

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

Does Slow and Steady Win the Race?

Have you ever found yourself in a position where a quick decision taken by you ended up in only you regretting it later? When you are running a business or heading a team at work, it does get important to be able to make decisions on your own. There might be many situations in your professional life where making any decision will be better than performing an analysis and stalling things. However, there are also many instances where you need to play a waiting game and let things turn in your favour. In this blog post, I will talk about how at sometimes doing nothing can be the best course of action for you.

Getting the Right Hero for Your Company

One of the most obvious examples of slow but sure is when you are hiring a new staff member. In situations where you have a very clear job outline highlighting all that you are looking for in the new resource, there is nothing much to do except wait until that perfect fit comes along. You might have learnt it the hard way, where you just got someone on board in haste to fill the gap, but later realised that s/he just was not the right person for the job.

You might not mind taking in the perfect fit when your business is in startup mode because you are looking for multitaskers. However, once your business becomes fully functional, you will become more ambitious and settling in for just anyone will not do you any good. Having a new resource that might be good at a number of things but not very solid where it matter most will just drain your energy, time and other resources.

Another example would be when you are changing the minimum entry level for new clients. If you have thought well on your decision then the best thing for you will be to wait for the right clients to come your way. However, if you just keep saying ‘yes’ to any new client, irrespective of them meeting your minimum standards, you will just end up juggling too many unnecessary balls and ultimately clogging up the system.

Patience in Deciding is a Greater Virtue

A rather less obvious place for you to hold out and exercise patience would be when you are unsure about making a decision that you have not thought of thoroughly enough. This can be bad for you professionally because you just do not have enough information on this. The first step in taking a wiser call will be for you to do more research on the matter. Be patient with yourself and your peers and set yourself a target of finding out more about the matter at hand. Speak to others who might know more, search the internet and read around on blogs like Simon Stapleton (absolutely!). It is highly likely for you to feel much more comfortable with whatever decision you make, once you have received this new information. What is required from you is a little patience in the very first instance.

Keeping yourself from your own frustrations

Not just in making decisions, patience should be heavily exercised in all work and life tasks. It really is an underrated skill in business. And while it might seem easy to say that doing nothing is the best course of action, in reality, doing this can be extremely difficult and frustrating for most of us.

Holding out for the perfect client, team member or even a piece of technology is one of those skills that will take you from an expert to a master. The only way to become a pro at being patient is showing it in your daily routine, more and more each day. You can say that your ability to hold out shows the world how mature and seasoned you are as a professional.

Setting Your Standards Right

I have seen from personal experiences that it becomes much easier for you to hold out when you are clear on the following two things:

  1. You take yourself and your ideas much more seriously. It is rather easy for you to self-deprecate and deflect when you are asked about sharing your business ideas. Show some confidence in yourself and know that you decide your future and not anyone else.
  2. You consider your ideas worth pursuing and valuable. If you do not take your ideas seriously, chances are that no one else will either. Demonstrate some self-belief and give in the effort worthy enough for your decisions to be the right ones.

The moment you start believing that your ideas are valuable and good for your business, you start finding the right discipline and stamina to be able to hold out for whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Be sure that your own standards are set right, so that holding out for them would be valuable to your professional success.

As a business, you need to be very clear on where you are headed and what you are aiming to achieve. If you demonstrate any lack of clarity, it will not necessarily show up as lack of ideas. In fact, lack of clarity will most likely show up as you looking at almost every ideas as if it is worth pursuing. This chaos in your head is the real indicator of you not truly having any clarity and that you are not in control of your situation. Unfortunately, most of the young business owners these days are famous for generating a plethora of ideas but not having concrete understanding of even a single one of them.

You can only evaluate an idea effectively to see if it holds any value if you know exactly where you are headed. Failing to know your own path will make it impossible for you to figure out the steps you need to take to make it happen.  Having clarity of your standards will let you say no to most of the ideas floating in your head, allowing you to only focus on the ones that seem most likely to help you succeed. Being clear on your direction of travel will allow you to hold out for all that you need to be able to move forward. This is a major reason why you need to have a formal business plan in place, as it will help you avoid any distractions and deviations.

Never Cave In

We all know deep down inside that accepting ‘near enough’ as ‘good enough’. Settling for second best will only mean that you are deviating from your standards and giving in to circumstances in haste. What you need to understand is that no matter how tough it might seem, you can still have your doubts and hang on tough. You might feel uneasy and restless but with a little conviction, you can surely adhere to your standards. Doing so will ensure that you will only settle for the best and that you will not be jeopardising your business just because you were too impatient to wait for the right thing.

Time for Payback

This is my experience saying – you will avoid so much hassle, time wastage and pain from accepting something less perfect if you simply honour your ideas and hold out for exactly what you need to achieve your dreams and your vision. It might seem like you are stalling things for no good reason, but doing nothing and waiting for the right moment can be the most rewarding thing for you.

I call it the strategy that the famous Italian football team of 2006 that won the World Cup. In most of the games, they kept holding out for the right moment, not giving in to pressure of the clock ticking. When the right moment came, they just knew what they had to do and putting their entire efforts and energies behind those few chances, they were able to defeat the strongest teams on counter-attack. What really helped them was how they did not let their discipline go away just because they saw tons of half chances and focused only on those opportunities that they knew they could not miss.

Holding put and playing the waiting game can be the most efficient route for you to achieve your objectives. Going slow will usually turn out to be the fastest way for you to achieve your goals. Just as they say: ‘Measure twice, cut once.’

We all have been in that situation – settling for a half-impressive decision, thinking that finding something or someone that is ‘almost’ good enough will do. Most of the times, we will just find out a few wasted months or even years later that the one poor decision just cost you your business.

Be wise and just do not fall for the pressures. Hold out and hang tough. Show patience and you will see true success eventually.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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