Thursday, November 11, 2010

Deal with difficult issues right away

I told the kids about a recent situation in one of the companies I work with. Several months ago a board member asked the CEO to do something that the CEO didn't want to do. The CEO didn't want to argue either, so he made a compelling case for postponing that action for a month. After the month went by, the board member asked again. The CEO made another (different) compelling argument for waiting another month. Now two months have gone by and the board member has no more patience. The CEO calls me and tells me the bottom line is he doesn't want to do what the board member is asking for. Yet the CEO is in a very bad position. He had already agreed, twice, to do what the board member wanted. He had just asked for a delay. If he now says he doesn't want to do it he comes across as disingenuous - like he didn't really meant it when he argued for delays. Like he was just looking for excuses. He would have been in a much better position to make his case for not doing the action when it was first brought up.

We are often tempted to find easy excuses for not doing things we don't want to do - instead of confronting people. "I can't go because I don't have an umbrella"... "Don't worry about it. I have an extra umbrella". Much better to "bite the bullet" early on, be truthful and deal with the situation before we have gotten ourselves into a corner.

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