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Daily Leadership Thought #183 – Don’t Wait For A Crisis To Act

July 29, 2011

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You shouldn’t need a crisis to take necessary positive action.

It is always better to be proactive rather than reactive in life.  Change is inevitable.  If you try to fight it, you will only end up resentful and suffer the consequences.  Sometimes the signals are obvious that you need to make changes, other times they are not.   However, waiting for a crisis to force change is rarely a wise strategy.

It is easy to find crisis-avoidant examples everywhere you look:

  • Politicians irresponsibly waiting until the last possible minute to address pressing economic and diplomatic challenges
  • World leaders ignoring the obvious evidence of global warming and its impending consequences
  • Corporate executives who are slow to act on market/industry trends that are critical to their survival
  • Media tycoons who encourage or allow journalistic ethics to wane and who end up getting caught up in their own frenzy of sensationalism
  • Small business owners who wait until their financial situation is dire before making tough business decisions or asking for help
  • Religious leaders who “put their head in the sand” and practice avoidance when it comes to the chronic aberrant behavior of some of their people and institutions
  • Coaches and owners who ignore or rationalize the bad decisions/actions of their players and then end up surprised when it only escalates
  • Managers, agents, and family members who let young talent decline into a sometimes-fatal web of destructive personal behavior
  • People knowingly living beyond their means but not changing their spending patterns and behaviors
  • Spouses who know something is wrong in their relationship but do little about it until it is too late
  • Parents who see their kids spending time with the wrong crowd and/or making bad personal decisions, but claim they are powerless to address the issue


Avoidance never works.  Eventually bad decisions or actions will come back to haunt you.  We are all human and as such are flawed and prone to making mistakes.   What matters when this happens is how quickly you address the consequences and learn from the experience so as not to repeat it.   Not all change is obvious – sometimes you will get caught off guard; however, this should be the exception not the rule.  In most cases, if you are honest with yourself the signals are obvious that you need to act.  Be proactive about your life and what is required to make it better!