The older they are the more expensive they become. It is an irrefutable law of parenting.

I remember the days when I could arrive home after a business trip and any small, inconsequential thing would appease the kids and serve as an ‘I’m home’ gift. Often these small but important sacrifices were the shampoo from the hotel, some airplane food (now there’s an oxymoron of note) or some last minute offering bought at the local shop around the corner. It was during those days that I even believed that it really didn’t matter what I brought; what really mattered was the fact that I was home. Whilst I would concede that there were such days, the point is that they didn’t last long. Soon such gifts didn’t appease the gods and the expense of providing different ones often rose in inverse proportion to the size of the object being brought home.

The law or principle at work here is: the older the kid, the more expensive the appeasement.

And that reminds me of another sure law of leading people: the longer you ignore a problem that is brought to your attention the deeper it grows. You might choose to do nothing for a while, and there are times when that is the smartest non-action to take. But to ignore the problem, to bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away is seldom, if ever, helpful.

Sometimes it makes sense to ‘do nothing’, other than acknowledge that the problem exists. But in a system or environment that expects leaders to solve problems this can be a difficult, if not fatal, tack to follow. The greater the democracy present within a company, the greater the freedom that allows people the space and time to work things out for themselves. There is much to be said for allowing failure and, equally, to ensuring that if people are to fail, they fail quickly so as not to waste resources and money. For action-orientated leaders trusting in process is tough. Getting those who follow to do likewise can be even tougher.

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