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Wait?! For What?!

Many leaders and managers wait until the ship is almost under water before they try to stop the leaks. It's too late to make critical changes when work situations are out of hand. We have heard the term "being proactive" used in many work-related situations. We are told to be proactive when looking to replace an employee who will retire or has accepted another opportunity. We are told to be proactive when our technology needs to be updated rather than wait until our software no longer supports our business platforms. We are told to be proactive when policy needs to be updated to answer critical questions regarding employee relationships within the company.

Instead, we wait until matters go south to react. We put ourselves under unnecessary pressure rather than pay attention to the warning signs and move. How many managers and leaders have hustled to find replacements for critical positions within the company because they did not have the foresight to train backups or put succession plans in place? I tell leaders all the time that our first responsibility as a leader is to find your successor. How many office leases have lapsed or expired because we waited too late to renew them? How many times have we paid for extra repairs in our homes, or on our vehicles because we ignored signs of imminent failure?

We should always have a proactive plan in place for the "what ifs" and the "maybes". You don't need to be a prophet to see the future. You only need to pay attention to the signs and know that if certain issues are not addressed in a timely manner, they will become problematic. It is too late to get the fire extinguisher when the building has burned to the ground. Many professionals are working in a burning building but lack awareness to smell smoke. "We can get to that is not a priority...we don't have the is too expensive." Each excuse delays the approach to getting things done to prepare for the next. The next ALWAYS comes quickly and when you least expect it.

If you think you need to be ready to make a decision you will never make one. Good decisions are never based on readiness. They are based on a carefully planned approach to the future in anticipation of a major shift or change. Being proactive means to put plans, policies, and procedures in place before a situation or event occurs where reliance upon such policy is warranted. You cannot afford to wait until tomorrow. You cannot afford to wait until the next board meeting. You cannot afford to wait until next year's budget is approved. Some of you reading this blog won't be with your company this time next year. So why wait? Do what needs to be done to make your team, department, and organization stronger today. It the whole thing needs to be blown up and rebuilt, light the match and stand back. If dead weight needs to be thrown overboard, make the hard decisions and hide the lifelines. Stop waiting for things to happen and start making things happen.

The word "wait" in its earliest etymological contexts does not mean to sit and do nothing. It means to actively pursue opportunities. No one is coming to save you. Save yourself and the others who are looking to you for solutions.

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