Growth Insights for CEOs

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Posted by Jon Rice

The-Cost-of-Doing-NothingTalk is cheap. Excessive talk, however, is very, very expensive. Did you know that the average American corporate worker spends 31 hours per month in meetings – costing U.S. businesses $37 billion per year in salary squandered in the “bored” room?

Often, these Olympic gabfests result in a lot of hot air, without a real goal or plan of action in mind. It’s little wonder that 47% of those stuck in the glass cage complained that meetings were the No. 1 time-waster at the office.

But there’s a more real – and tangible – cost of inertia when you have identified a problem within your business environment that needs to be addressed. Lost productivity is nothing compared to the product that languished on the clearance rack, the sale you didn’t make, or the partnership opportunity that you missed.

Real problems like these get fixed when people take action -- and there's no proof that long meetings and endless corporate chatter will result in better solutions.

Instead, consider what Albert Einstein said when positing on the importance of momentum: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Certainly, Mr. Einstein had a point. A bicycle can't stay upright when you slow down or stop. Even a tiny bit of momentum makes it easier to keep moving forward and stay balanced. I think the same physical reality applies to business - you keep it moving, stop and put your feet down, or just fall over.

But lest we just pump the pedals aimlessly, also keep in mind that other people are along for the ride. Too often, team members who need to execute the eventual solution lose their enthusiasm when leadership takes too long to reach a decision. 

The good news for most companies is that the Tour De France of business can be won on the backs of the marketing team. The insights that marketing can provide are a great way to overcome inertia. Marketers, like well-tuned cyclists, are trained to find the path of least resistance, and most efficiency.

It is the role of marketers to analyze the results of your existing efforts, define any deficiencies – and then explore, plan and implement strategies and tactics to address the issues in a concrete manner. The statistics that marketers gather – and the resulting marketing plan – can keep your team focused with a defined process for moving forward and a way to measure success.

Of course, the quest for the yellow jersey is only successful if you have the right team members, and you provide the resources needed to pedal to victory lane.

The worst thing you can do is nothing. Don't fall off the bike. Keep things moving with support from your marketing team.

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