What's stopping you? - Michelle Gibbings

It was the American author, Harold Blake Walker who said: “The only true failure lies in failure to start.”

I like the sentiment that underpins that statement.  But it needs to go further.

Dog on leadThere’s no doubt that it’s important to start things.  To try new things.  To have a go.

However, if all you ever do is start something, and never finish anything where would you be?

You’d have a whole list of half-finished ideas and projects, and you’d waste a lot of time and resources that could have been used elsewhere.

It will impact your brand as you’ll be seen as someone who doesn’t deliver.  If you want to be influential you have to make progress and get things done.

Plus, it’s highly likely you’ll frustrate people around you.

People in organisations want to get things done.  They want to make progress and to feel as though the work they are doing matters.

And getting things done involves making decisions – all the time.

Some people don’t like making decisions.  They’ll sit on the decision, prevaricate, make a decision and then change their mind.

Working with people like this can feel as if you are going around in a circle and in a constant state of flux.  You feel constrained and held back because you end up working very long hours and getting nowhere.

No decisions, ultimately means limited or no progress.

When decisions aren’t made you’ll typically hear:

  • I ran out of time
  • I didn’t have enough information
  • I need more data
  • Other people needed to be involved and they weren’t available

These can often be excuses for not making a decision.

So how good are you at making decisions?  Are there triggers, such as inertia, uncertainty or a lack of interest, that stop you making a decision?

Decision making is a choice and if you want to make progress make the decision matter to you.

Give it the attention it deserves.  If it’s an easy decision, don’t waste time over-thinking it.  Make the decision and move on.

If the decision’s more complex, map out the process and approach you want to take.  Be deliberate about the steps you take, and decisive as you move forward.

The world is moving incredibly quickly.  If you take too long to make a decision, you’ll be left behind.

Remember, change happens. Make it work for you!


Michelle Gibbings is the author of Step up: How to build your influence at work.  She is known for making the complex, simple.  She helps people to think more deliberately, act with greater purpose and accelerate progress by understanding the art and science of human behaviour.  

 e: michelle@changemeridian.com.au