When I was a young, adventurous boy, I often would climb fences as a means of taking shortcuts. On one such occasion, I stopped halfway over, which resulted in me getting stuck on the top of a chain-link fence. I was eventually able to get down, but I ended up with a quarter-sized gash on my leg that required several stitches. It was a painful and costly lesson.
Today, I am known by many as someone who effectively assists leaders in making tough decisions. The fact is, however, they are not always tough decisions. Sometimes, they are just a matter of being stuck on the fence.
If you are a business owner or in a leadership role in business, sitting on the fence can be painful and costly. Delaying a decision – procrastination – can take a problem and make it a crisis.
Yet, while many know this, it still happens. Why is this?
Here are five reasons people sit on the proverbial fence.
When I got to the top of that rather large fence, I made the mistake of stopping and thinking about where I was. At that point, fear kicked in, and I stopped making progress. You know the result – my perceived fear became real pain.
Question to ask yourself: What fear is holding me back?
When I stopped at the top of the fence, I became indecisive.
Question to ask yourself: What decision do I need to make to get off the fence?
The perfect solution for me, while sitting atop the fence, would have been for someone to help me over and provide aid, but the perfect solution did not present itself.
In business today, if you wait for things to be perfect, you are going to be waiting a very long time. Can you afford the time or money it will take to wait for perfection?
Question to ask yourself: What perfect solution am I waiting for?
Sometimes, we delay decisions out of anger. Procrastination is nothing more than passive resistance, whether it is in resisting others or ourselves.
Question to ask yourself: Am I allowing anger to cloud or paralyze my decisions?
We tend to choose easy over hard in business and in life. Whatever my friends and I were chasing that fence-climbing day, I can assure you, I didn’t get to it. Efficiency is good, but shortcuts are not always the best way to reach a goal.
As a leader, you must frequently ask yourself if you are spending most of your time completing the easy work, while the hard and more profitable decisions and actions are being put on the back burner.
Question to ask yourself: Am I looking for the easy way out of a hard situation or the best way?
That day years ago, I chose a zone many people choose often. It’s called a comfort zone. It was the easy way to get to where I intended to go – or so I thought. In your comfort zone, you embrace laziness, accept your fears, award indecisiveness, and tell yourself the perfect solution will come if you just wait – all while angrily defending a position that is ultimately causing you pain.
I still have the scar from that visit to my comfort zone. It’s a reminder for me to never sit on the fence again.
Learn from my experience – move past the comfort zone!
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. For help in getting off the proverbial fence and on to success, “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.