When CEOs are too scared to fulfill their own vision – part 2

Why do CEOs and managers fear the “4 ifs” of succeeding? Why do they procrastinate in order not to reach their vision? What holds them up?

I am a great fan of the group Coldplay. “What if” is a track that many of our intrepid managers and strategists may be familiar with.

What if there was no light
Nothing wrong, nothing right
What if there was no time
And no reason, or rhyme
What if you should decide
That you don’t want me there by your side
That you don’t want me there in your life

And so the song continues. What if only bad things happen.

Meet a client of mine. Clever, talented, modest and at the beginning of an exciting commercial venture. This week, we sketched the framework of a simple marketing scheme. He outlined  what he needed to do and when. There was room for optimism that he will end up with an upsurge of orders.

Fine, I am thinking, and then I realise that he is silent. I wait for a response. More silence. I enquire what is the issue. And sheepishly out oozes the pain:

“What if I receive too many orders”?

How about jumping for joy, I wanted to respond, but my man was clearly troubled. Even so, I was not feeling generous. So, I threw the question back at him: “What if?”, and shrugged my shoulders.

Finally, after a few more moments of reflection, he admitted that maybe it would be a good thing. This was swiftly followed by another excuse as to how he may not have enough time to deal with all the new customers.

Ever the cruel mentor, I asked “what if you reorganised your day in order to give your family a higher income”? A further extended silence followed.

This is a story I hear repeated several times a month in alternative guises. I speak to colleagues, who have similar incidents to recall. Whatever the country, the age, the area of commerce, people take on career paths or set up businesses, but are actually too afraid to move ahead towards their dreams.

Why? I have yet to work out if this is a generational issue or we are all infected by an internet bug. We are great at handing out advice, but not applying it to ourselves.

For the record – pun intended, Coldplay also provides our suffering CEOs with a simple solution.

Every step that you take
Could be your biggest mistake
It could bend or it could break
But that’s the risk that you take

Oooooooh thats right
Let’s take a breath, jump over the side
Oooooooh that’s right
You know that darkness always turns into light
Oooooooh that’s right

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2 Comments on “When CEOs are too scared to fulfill their own vision – part 2”


  1. […] Afternoon Tea In Jerusalem What you want to know about Israeli commercial life and society « When CEOs are too scared to fulfill their own vision – part 2 […]


  2. […] frequently written how some people are too afraid to make a decision. I have discussed the “what if” scenarios that get in the way of making a clearly defined decision. So many of us are […]


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