Delaying tough decisions often hurts everyone.

TRUE STORY: It was time to let Dave (name changed) go. Dave had been with my small business for many, many years. He had been integral to our success. He had become a good friend and very loyal colleague. Dave was talented, dependable and hard-working. Why was I considering letting him go? Our market and clientele had changed, our overhead had to change with it to stay viable and competitive — become leaner, more agile. Dave’s salary was too expensive.

In the new era of our business, we needed to evolve. If Dave had evolved with us he would have been worth the higher salary. But he had not. I could no longer afford to carry him. In fact, I had carried him too long, delaying one of my toughest decisions as the owner. I did not want to have this conversation. I liked — maybe even loved, Dave. He had become like family. I probably delayed this decison by a year or more. Big mistake.

Delaying Tough Decisions Hurts Everyone

I did not fully appreciate the fact that by delaying this decision, I was harming both Dave and myself. I was doing a disservice to us both. This was not procrastination, but rather the desire to avoid pain.

If you haven’t read Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings, please buy it and read it. I have read it twice, each time when facing tough decisions, and each time it was invaluable in informing my thinking. Key was one point he made that endings are a natural part of life. All life has a beginning and an end. When I began to realize that fact, I began to see this inevitable discussion with Dave a little differently. Dr. Cloud also pointed out that for new growth to emerge, often something else usually has to end. His example was a seed that goes into the ground and dies, and from it springs new growth, new possibilities.

I Made The Decision

I had the conversation with Dave. We said goodbye. It was hard. It was painful. And did things get better for us both after that? Not immediately. But things did get much better in time. In fact, Dave has a great position now with another firm, doing much better than he was with my firm. It proved my point that by delaying this tough decision I was hurting us both.

Don’t delay the tough decisions. This isn’t like fine wine where things improve with age — they get worse. Go ugly, early.

Something had to end, before something else good could emerge.

Let me know what you think. Leave me a comment below.


Author Wayland Coker

My goal is to help entrepreneurs learn as much as they can about themselves and their businesses, and the vital connection between the two. I don’t intend this to be a monologue, but a dialogue. Please give me your feedback in the comment sections located at the bottom of each article. I will read every comment and respond as I am able. I am looking forward to connecting with you!

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