"Punish Inaction"

I’ve become a major fan of Dev Patnaik’s book Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy I’m looking forward to interviewing Dev tomorrow for an upcoming People and Projects Podcast episode.

Don’t wait for the interviewget the book now and start reading.

While prepping for the interview I came across what I expect to be my favorite quote for this entire month, from a recent article Dev wrote for BusinessWeek.

The quote is credited to Stanford University engineering professor Jim Adams who said, “Good companies reward success, punish failure, and ignore inaction. Great companies reward success and failure and punish inaction.”

This hits on a common theme in both my interview with Michael Roberto about his book Know What You Don’t Know: How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen and in my discussion with Ralph Heath, author of Celebrating Failure: The Power of Taking Risks, Making Mistakes and Thinking Big: we too often seek first to punish failure instead of learn from it.

Yet the even greater wisdom of the quote has to do with how we deal with inaction. You be the judge. How have you seen inaction most often handled?

Tolerated? Expected? Ignored? Seriously. How many times have you said, “I thought of that years ago!” as someone makes money off an idea you had in the shower but went down the drain because you didn’t take action.

“Punish inaction.”

Do you want to excel at delivering projects and leading teams? Take those strong words to heart today. And don’t just consider the inaction of those on your teams and the stakeholders you work with.

You and I both need to look in the mirror to consider the inaction that has been holding us back.

Do you want to make big things happen this year? Reward success. Enthusiastically learn from mistakes. And develop a disdain for inaction.

P.S. Have you still not taken action on getting a copy of Dev’s book? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑