Friday, November 27, 2015

"At Least He Did Something"

"At least he (or she) did something."

That's a very low bar. It may even be a counter-productive one because it assumes that any action is better than none and that a policy of inaction would not have ultimately produced far superior results.

  • Neville Chamberlain? "At least he did something."
  • The Bay of Pigs? "At least he did something."

When you explore many of the "did something" moments you find that the bold action made matters worse.

Now I'm as action-oriented as most Americans. I like to see things moving along and am not in love with paralysis-by-analysis. At the same time, action for action's sake is seldom a good move. Later, when reality begins to intervene, you'll hear the "At least he or she did something" excuses.

Don't buy them. 

Secretary of State George Shultz used to urge, "Don't just do something, stand there." 

My own advice would be, "Do something wise but recognize that may mean sitting tight. Don't succumb to the temptation to do something so you can later say you did something. Action for action's sake is the policy of someone looking for an alibi, not the measured action of a real leader who seeks real progress."

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