As leaders, most of us are action-oriented. Something crosses our desk, we deal with it. An issue comes up with a customer, a vendor, an employee, and we take action. And, sometimes, especially in these times, it’s best to let it rest.

Most of us feel a lack of control over so many things today that when something arises, that feels like something we can control and can do something about, we are spurred to take action. And same as before,

  • Sometimes action is needed, and sometimes nothing is required.
  • Sometimes, that annoying email doesn’t require a response.
  • Sometimes, when a negotiation stalls the best tactic is to leave it be, or
  • If the other side has already done that, let it rest.
  • Sometimes, doing nothing is simply the best strategy.

Two quick stories from two CEO’s I know:

First, a long term negotiation on a contract has gone on for several years. As an outsider looking in, one might wonder, why not bring this to closure. Then we learn that it’s been 20 years of negotiation, minimal dollars spent, and many thousands at stake. Even if it eventually settles, the present value of the money saved alone justifies the lengthy process.

Another CEO was negotiating with a former operating partner, still an owner. Sure would be nice to close that loose end, icky to have a former partner still a voting member. And then we learn, the former partner is in bankruptcy; it looks like the CEO is going to pick up those shares at a significantly lower cost.

As Kenny Rogers says so well in The Gambler, “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away.”

For me,  when I feel that urgency to pick up the phone or write that email, I find it helps to pause and ask myself which hand of The Gambler am I holding? 

If you are looking to get unstuck and cut the time from stuck to action to six months or less, there is no better time than now to contact me. 

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