Nobody Said It Was Easy

December 1, 2015By Industry Intuition, Views

by Dave Wendland, as seen in Healthcare Distributor magazine, Out of the Box column

September/October 2015

In a popular song released several years ago by the group Coldplay, called "The Scientist," Chris Martin sings of a relationship gone sideways. But I believe the song has a message that applies to any situation where a path has been pursued and along the way there are regrets.

Set yourself apart

One reason to pursue a new path may be to set yourself apart within the industry or distance yourself with some unique advantage not offered by your competitors. Such was the case in the lyrics, where the start of the relationship was based on a notion that its foundation was formed from something that had not existed before.

The challenge, whether in business or personal relationships, is once the path is selected, additional information begins to surface that may cause doubt in the original decision. Some may refer to this as buyer’s remorse or simply deep regret. The reality is that decisions based on emotion alone are difficult, and they make it virtually impossible — as the song suggests — to go back to the start.

Fact-based decisions

The lyrics then infer that the decision to pursue the relationship was merely based on guessing. In Martin’s song he says questions of science were not considered. The same holds true with business decisions not supported by fact and/or research.

Although I am a firm believer in "gut feelings" and instincts, I’ve also seen firsthand the number of organizations that have made decisions looking no further than the four walls of their boardroom — foolishly investing and never realizing their goals. Decisions that are objectively considered and supported with some degree of fact and/or knowledge have a much greater likelihood of succeeding.

Running in circles – chasing our tails

Finally, for short-sighted decisions that require constant reminders that the choice must have been logical, organizations (and/or individuals involved in a relationship) too often spend an inordinate amount of time trying to will it to succeed.

Others recognize their doomed path and acknowledge that the original reasons to proceed were unfounded. It’s like running in circles trying to justify a bad decision instead of fessing up, moving on, and ensuring additional good money is not spent after bad.

I’ve seen some manufacturers rush a product to market before completing thorough competitive and consumer research only to spend more money and time correcting their missteps. There are also many examples of retail operations that have paralyzed themselves by overthinking a decision only to witness a competitor unveil a similar concept and steal the thunder. And, finally, some organizations fail to jump into the water deeply enough once a decision is made and find themselves scratching their heads about the market potential.

Remember, in relationships and in business, none of this is easy. Ill-guided decisions will be made each day and that is okay — and instructive — as long as the amount of effort it takes to realize a goal after a course correction remains realistic. If not, it may well be time to give up and focus on areas considered to be far more fruitful.