The urge to stay constantly busy and “on” is a logical reaction to a work-world that seems to value productivity above all else. We want to be seen taking action and doing something – anything other than doing nothing.
But this bias for action is frequently misguided; research into elite soccer players has shown that inaction is sometimes the best option. And in business, better decisions often come from action after reflection, not from reflexive action. Slowing down, detaching, and thinking rather than becoming buried in the endless grind of activity allows for regeneration, fresh perspectives, and for learning to occur.
We often run into this action-bias during our PriSim courses. Teams running simulated companies grapple with taking the time to conduct a thorough SWOT analysis versus immediately entering decisions. By moving too quickly into execution, key facts and data are often overlooked that can have a dramatic impact on business results.
Stepping back to study the playing field before jumping into action might feel like stalling, but as the old adage goes: “Look before you leap.”
You can read more in the Wall Street Journal here if you have a subscription.