I Have Seen The Enemy -- And The Enemy Is Within

by , Dec 9, 2013, 9:58 AM
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Companies are their own worst enemies. The amount of wheel-spinning that takes place to get an initiative in place or even started, only for the rug to be ripped out underneath due to “a new CMO coming in” (or an existing one going out), “a budget cut” or “a reorg,” translates into significant hours expended, and therefore has a very real price tag.

I think it’s important we recognize the tangible cost of dragging our feet, being stuck in holding patterns and/or ultimately having cold feet as a substantial cost of doing business.

The waste of time -- and therefore money -- is mission critical, especially when dealing in a complex, dynamic and turbulent marketplace, with -- let’s face it -- extremely scarce resource (and by scarce resources, I’m talking about talent and time). While we all complain about budget cuts, in reality we are swimming in obscene excessive amounts of money that go into the temporal renting of multitasking eyeballs (yes, I’m talking about YOU, 30-second spot).

As a writer and speaker, I get to clench my fist and shake it disapprovingly at you a lot. You agree with me and yet you do nothing about it.

As a consultant and “agency” guy, I get to feel the short stick by being on the receiving end of your constant “reorgs” and additional approvals and reviews.

But honestly, don’t worry about me -- this is about you. I’m really worried about you.

Did you ever stop and think that all this time lost is actually hurting the current and future state of your business? In other words, hastening the next reorg and restructure? Your inability to get anything done that is different, original, unique and/or innovative is without question putting your own continuity and value INTO question.

Seriously, consider the ROI of not doing anything. It’s a Return on Inertia that is ironically very measurable both as an opportunity cost (past/hours) and opportunity lost (future/execution).

Instead, consider the analogy of waiting in a very long line. You’ve stood for an hour and you’re strongly considering calling it quits and walking away. Only, you’ve already spent an hour and who knows, the wait might only be another 30 minutes or so. And then before you know it, it’s 90 minutes or 2 hours. Now you DEFINITELY can’t walk away, because you’ve invested 2 hours, which is much more than the hour. And then it’s three hours -- and so on.

Why not apply the same logic to your projects? Stay the course!. Consider all the hours and legwork that got you this far and use that as the incentive to keep going.

And if all else fails, consider this: “If you’re not adding to your legacy, you’re adding to your eulogy.”

You can quote me on that if you like.

4 comments on "I Have Seen The Enemy -- And The Enemy Is Within".

  1. Robert Rosenthal from Rosenthal Heavy Industries
    commented on: December 9, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
    Like. And I will quote you on that.
  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: December 9, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
    Newspapers
  3. Chris Elwell from Third Door Media
    commented on: December 9, 2013 at 4:13 p.m.
    Well said. The desire to CYA in companies far outweighs the urge to succeed. Managment's ultimately to blame for creating that kind of a culture, and eventually gets what it deserves. Let the eulogy writing continue.
  4. Pete Austin from Triggered Messaging
    commented on: December 11, 2013 at 5:30 a.m.
    Pretty sure that, if you're waiting in a long line, you have to know when to cut your losses and you "DEFINITELY" can walk away. Otherwise you wouldn't be writing this, you'd still be on the phone to a "customer service" number where they put you on hold in 1990. Apply the same logic to your projects as you would when deciding whether to fold at poker.

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