Confident CEO or fearful business person?

I have written here on several occasions about procrastination – how professional managers simply put off decisions.

Why? Well cometh the person, so cometh the silly excuse. And when the task is finally tackled, guess what? It turns out to be the simplest and easiest exercise on earth. And all this begs the obvious question: “why”?

Much has to do with the old addage of fear. Briefly, a person may perceive that they cannot tackle a subject or that they are afraid of the consequences of their actions. What will success or failure then bring? How will they cope? etc etc.

Yesterday, I learnt a new and revealing angle to this concept. There is a very famous Jewish song, dating back to around the early 1800s:

The whole world
is a very narrow bridge – 
A very narrow bridge.

And the main thing to recall – 
is not to be afraid – 
not to be afraid at all

This is how the song has been translated from the original. A closer inspection of the core text indicates that the word “afraid” is actually written in the reflexsive mode. As the official translation puts it, “When a person must cross an exceedingly narrow bridge, the general principle and the essential thing is not to frighten yourself at all.”

What’s the message?

Every day, we are faced with tasks, in our private and commercial lives, matters of greater and lesser importance. As the world becomes more sophisticated – even global in an internet era – we are exposed to huge amounts of information. Much of this information can be contradictory to the point of confusing and frightening. Bottom line – you lose perspective of even the most simplest tasks.

Here are a couple of obvious examples of what I mean.

1) Cold calling – there is a whole library of books and blogs on how to help us make calls to people, who we do not know. Boil the subject down to its core issue and all that is required is to pick up the phone and ask for an appointment or get somebody to send you something. Yet many find this task scary. 

2) I hate dealing with insurance claims. Late last week, I finally tackled a household claim that should have been finished off weeks back. As my wife pointed out, all I had to do was make a quick phone call to obtain an email address and then write a simple letter. And what happened? 2 minutes to write the damn thing, after waiting 10 minutes for customer service!

So, the next time you see a confident CEO or manager put off a decision, ask yourself: Is this a canny wise move from somebody playing their cards right or are you looking at a person, allowing themselves to be shaken to their bones for all the wrong reasons?

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