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Leadership and cost of inaction

Demystifying Cost Of Inaction

Imagine you wake up one morning with a slight toothache
Initially, the pain is bearable, so you ignore it and continue with your life
A few days pass by....
Now, it starts paining more
You find it difficult to eat or talk, but you still do not do anything about it
A few more days pass by....
Now, the pain becomes unbearable
And you finally visit a dentist, after suffering for several days
The dentist advises a costly procedure and lots of medicine
You have no choice but to undergo the procedure
Eventually, the pain subsides after a few days
You see what happened ?
You only took action when the pain became unbearable and you ended up paying a huge cost
This is known as the COST OF INACTION (COI)
Imagine if you had NOT ignored the pain and taken care of it earlier
Maybe visited the dentist before ?
Maybe the procedure was not necessary at all ?
In this case, the cost of inaction was both financial and non-financial
The financial cost was obviously the medical bills
But because you were not able to talk properly for few days, you missed some important client meetings
So there was potential lost business opportunity as well
And then, there was the non-tangible component of COI
You were in pain, you were suffering
You could not have your meals properly or sleep properly
You were simply miserable for those days !
In my experience, this concept of COI is not well understood by many
Whether you are business leader, entrepreneur or a working professional – it does not really matter
When you do not change....

When you try to maintain the status quo for long....

When you do not take any action....
You end up paying a huge COI
This COI actually has 2 components
First, the cost you have ALREADY paid ( as in the above example )
So whatever your current challenges are, wherever you are struggling today
Think about it - how long have you been in this situation ?
Could be a few months, could be a few years or even more..
Again, in my coaching experience, I have seen people staying with their situation for years and years and not doing anything about it
And all this while, there is a cost you have ALREADY paid - missed career opportunities, lost promotions, lesser earnings
That is not all…
It could have impacted other areas of your life - your health, relationships, general wellbeing and happiness as well
In most cases, you might not have given it a thought, but in reality, this past COI could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have to put a dollar amount to it
The second component of COI is the FUTURE COST
The long term COI
What you will CONTINUE to pay, IF you do not do anything about your current situation
So you see…
This entire COI could be really huge in most cases, especially in the long term
And the key word is long term
This is where many leaders fail
They fail in estimating the long-term cost of maintaining status quo or they end up grossly underestimating it
They wait too long to act, to change - till everything becomes a crisis
And eventually, they end up fire-fighting all the time

Today you might be seen as an influential business leader...
But as new leaders emerge, as the business environment changes, as technology changes...
Your relevance as a leader may diminish if YOU do not change, eventually impacting your own growth
That will be COI for you as a leader
Same is true for your business as well
Today you might be holding a significant market share...
But as competition grows, as new technologies emerge, it might impact if you do not change and adapt continuously
..From dwindling profits to reduced market share
..From lower employee retention to falling customer satisfaction
Eventually, you might become irrelevant
That will be COI for your business
And needless to say, this same concept is applicable in your personal life as well
Wherever you are struggling today, whatever is NOT working in your life – whether it is a dead-end job or a relationship that sucks
The situation will not improve on its own, till you do something about it
But till that time, you will continue to pay a huge COI, both tangible and intangible
So here is my invitation to you this week :
1) Pick up one area of your life where you might be struggling today – could be from your workplace or from your personal life
2) Take a pause and reflect - how long has it been impacting you ? 
3) What is the Cost Of Inaction (COI) you are ALREADY paid ? Spend some time thinking through and breaking this down. Try to put a monetary value to it 
4) If you do not do anything about it, what is the COI you will continue paying ? What will eventually happen ?
I would be interested to know what came up for you as you read and reflected on this email
Do share your thoughts and feedback


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