[Strategy] Why We Start But Don’t Finish

There’s no penalty for starting in our overall work culture.

The Best Phrase in Business-

If you start an initiative, a process or even start a project at work, there’s no conflict.

Sure, someone might come along (an employee, a colleague, a co-worker, a boss, a supervisor, a manager) and may make your life “difficult” by muddying up the process of starting. But even with such actions, it may feel like there’s a penalty, but there really isn’t.

Seth Godin in The Dip points this out. This is partially because there are parades and applause for starting throughout our overall culture: starting school, starting a volunteer project, starting a business.

But the cutural opportunity for penalty rises as the expectations of others (and yourself) rise (or fall) in relation to the success (or failure) of the process, initiation or project as it moves forward.

Penalties are reinforced for failure at work and then quitting is quietly proposed, with no fanfare or applause.

Think about the overall cultural language and phrases around quitting: “No one likes a quitter.” Or, “quitters never win.” Or, a more insidious one we have heard in some circles in the past “AA is for quitters.”

There’s a public penalty for quitting and it comes from a toxic combination of other people’s expectations, jealousies and assumptions, our own desires and assumptions about how the project, process or initiative should work, and the ways in which reality rarely dovetails with both of these.

And then, we are shamed for failing and subtly, socially encouraged, to never try again, to shut up our voices and to go along with whatever “the crowd” decides is good.

The way out of this is to begin publicly applauding quitting, quietly acknowledging starting (but not lauding it, or praising it) and having the courage to ignore the crowd, who are often blind, prejudiced, or biased.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

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