Get Out of the Eddy and Start Moving Down River
An eddy can be defined as water moving in a circular pattern, counter to the main current of water, sometime causing a whirlpool. River rafters try to avoid eddies as opposed to getting stuck in an unstable place in a river in order to keep moving down the river.
A business eddy is where the business or business leaders become stuck on small or major decisions that need to be made, ideas that need to be implemented or processes the business needs to stop using because it is causing the business to go in virtual circles and remain stagnant.
Businesses can become stuck in an eddy on decisions that should be simple to make, such as worrying about the color of a new printer they are purchasing for their office or where to order in lunch for an office meeting. In both cases the actual dollar costs to the business is low, but the time that management spends making the decision is costly in both wasted time and energy, while preventing management to deal with more pressing issues.
Over thinking about an idea that needs to be implemented is a very common business eddy. Management wants to think of all the possible outcomes, problems related to implementing the idea and they become stuck in a never-ending thought pattern that results in the business decision going nowhere. This is often the case with business decisions related to changing software or hardware platforms, moving offices or terminating a contract with a vendor or client. These types of decisions are major but need to be made to keep the business moving forward and avoiding remaining stagnant.
Major business eddies related to important decisions need to be made in a timely manner, but often management want to wait to see what will happen or are in hopes that the issue will pass on its own. These major eddies can be caused by a severe downturn in revenue, failure of a new product line to gain traction in the marketplace or negative economic conditions in which the business was unprepared. These business eddies often disrupt businesses and its employees but need to be addressed in a more aggressive manner. The most unsettling type of major business eddy is a work force reduction. Often a business needs to reduce their work force in an aggressive manner to stabilize the business and move forward.
Over the years, I have heard rafters talk about getting out of an eddy on the river, in their personal lives and in the loss of friend after a long illness. Now is the time for business leaders to start thinking and implementing actions that will get their business out of the eddy and moving down river.