Thursday, March 24, 2011

Timing is Critical - Avoidance Can be Dangerous

Leaders must be able to assess multi-layered situations and have the foresight to judge the intended and possible unintended consequences of their decisions.  They must understand when they are exercising proper judgement to deliver a message or execute a problem, and when they are avoiding a problem due to the discomfort caused by confronting the issue.  If a problem is avoided it rarely solves itself.  More often than not, the problem only gets worse and the behaviours, actions, and attitudes that have caused the problem become ingrained.

We all avoid pain and discomfort - it is human nature.  As leaders, we must understand the cost of avoidance in order to overcome our natural reluctance, and deal with the issues in a timely and effective manner.  Nationally, we must all make choices regarding our National Debt.  Here is an important example from an exchange between Representative Steny Hoyer and a member of the audience during a speech at the National Association of Development Organizations in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday.

Hoyer:  "This is a hard time for our budget.  Cuts have to be smart and targeted."

Question:  "Where is the courage by leadership and the administration to stand up and face reality and fix the debt?"

Hoyer:  "Polls show that 70% of Americans don't want cuts to defense or entitlements which account for the bulk of government spending.  Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security have to be on the table.  That makes everybody nervous.   Everybody in America needs courage."

Hoyer is right.  In Macro Economics, it comes down to "Guns or Butter". We can have a certain amount of defense and a certain amount of social programs.  But our resources are finite, and consequently, must be managed carefully by our leaders.  We know, they know - tough choices must be made for the benefit of the country.  It is time to address the problem.

For you, are there problems you are avoiding in your life that you should address? 

Be a leader - don't avoid.

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