What makes high performers stall and not take action?

15 replies
Hey guys,

So a quick background before my main question. Been an entrepreneur for close to 10 years. Started, scaled and sold 4 companies, now on my fifth where I completely changed industries. I coach executives and help scale companies to either IPO or aquisition.

My question is, why do high performers who are already at the highest level also struggle with taking action?

I've coached quite a few but some just delay implementing. What could be the reasons for non action takers? I find it interesting that all levels tend to suffer from this.
#action #high #makes #performers #stall
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    I think they have to have a strong "Reason Why." (Many times just focusing on the money isn't enough.) If you have a strong enough "Reason" then consistent action naturally follows. That's my 2c anyway. : )
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    • Profile picture of the author Orion3003
      Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

      I think they have to have a strong "Reason Why." (Many times just focusing on the money isn't enough.) If you have a strong enough "Reason" then consistent action naturally follows. That's my 2c anyway. : )

      Yeah of course. Most executives at that level do not care about money anymore. I've been focusing on other areas specifically because of that.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
        Originally Posted by Orion3003 View Post

        Yeah of course. Most executives at that level do not care about money anymore. I've been focusing on other areas specifically because of that.
        Cool. : ) Similarly I think "Being of service" can be a important part of being an Entrepreneur.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wile E Coyote
    Originally Posted by Orion3003 View Post

    I've coached quite a few but some just delay implementing. What could be the reasons for non action takers? I find it interesting that all levels tend to suffer from this.
    Have you noticed any characteristics or positions of the ones you've coached to make any general hypothesis?


    My inclination would be there's still remnants of fear/uncertainty of the decision. Or that they get stuck in some higher-level feedback loop. Often times when my organization has to make big decisions we tend to circle back a few times because of other issues that are a result of the action being taken, then we discuss if the pros outweigh the cons etc.

    It could a lot of things, but since you've coached them, are there any similarities that you've noticed? Interesting topic.
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    • Profile picture of the author Orion3003
      Originally Posted by Wile E Coyote View Post

      Have you noticed any characteristics or positions of the ones you've coached to make any general hypothesis?


      My inclination would be there's still remnants of fear/uncertainty of the decision. Or that they get stuck in some higher-level feedback loop. Often times when my organization has to make big decisions we tend to circle back a few times because of other issues that are a result of the action being taken, then we discuss if the pros outweigh the cons etc.

      It could a lot of things, but since you've coached them, are there any similarities that you've noticed? Interesting topic.



      The biggest similarty I've noticed so far is the dodgy transition from the entrepreneur to the corporate executive role. You would be right to say that they have the remnants of anxious descision making, at least 60% of the ones ive worked with had that. Interestingly, it only really happens at private firms who usually bootstrap and scale without venture capital. The ones who take on any form of capital tend to hire an outside CEO to manage the day to day which in my opinion is fine, but they get left in the entrepreneur role which would confirm the descision anxiety.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by Orion3003 View Post

    My question is, why do high performers who are already at the highest level also struggle with taking action?
    Despite the mantra often repeated here, sometimes not taking action is the best course. The most successful entrepreneurs aren't reckless - they're selective in the risks they take, usually waiting until the odds are in their favor.

    We tend only to hear about the wildly successful ventures. Those countless opportunities that were passed up, by definition go unnoticed.


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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    One other point: if you're referring to corporate executives, it's not surprising that the further up they climb the corporate ladder, the more conservative they become. They've got further to fall and they want to hang on to what they've got.

    And if they have bosses and shareholders to appease, there's inevitably an element of CYA to take into account.


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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Orion,

    Fear.



    Someone has an idea to do something. But does not act on the idea because fear in their being deceives them. Fear is an illusion but feels intense, and so real, because you feel it.

    From Jeff Bezos to the person 500 million in debt, we all fear. But people who keep growing and scaling feel the fear, and do it, anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
      Good point: Thanks Ryan. What's the "solution" to fear? Courage. Like you said: "Feel the fear and do it anyway."
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      "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
    Originally Posted by Orion3003 View Post

    My question is, why do high performers who are already at the highest level also struggle with taking action?
    Shouldn't the question be, "Why do some high performers who are already at the highest level also struggle with taking action?" I don't believe it's a universal condition.

    Additionally, if they are already at the, "highest level," when, precisely, do you surmise that this "inaction," took place?

    I believe that your basic premise is more than slightly flawed.
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    • Profile picture of the author Orion3003
      Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

      Shouldn't the question be, "Why do some high performers who are already at the highest level also struggle with taking action?" I don't believe it's a universal condition.

      Additionally, if they are already at the, "highest level," when, precisely, do you surmise that this "inaction," took place?

      I believe that your basic premise is more than slightly flawed.

      Of course. Perhaps I worded my question wrong, English isn't my native language. There is of course a bell curve and I never mant to imply it's a universal problem. I've only worked with a select group which does not represent the whole. However, even at the highest level, actions carry 10x the consequences of your work at home internet marketer for example. I think think the underlying reasons may be different.
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      • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
        Originally Posted by Orion3003 View Post

        Of course. Perhaps I worded my question wrong, English isn't my native language.
        That's OK. I've lived here, my whole life - and it's barely mine.

        However, even at the highest level, actions carry 10x the consequences of your work at home internet marketer for example.
        Well, not to be argumentative, but this, too, is very simplistic. Someone in the, let's say Top 10% has a bad day, week or month - life isn't going to change that much. They have theirs. Acquiring less, through inaction, will probably not have much impact on their day-to-day existence.

        The, "work at home Internet marketer," which you reference - if that person has a bad week, due to inaction, the family might not eat and the situation could be fraught with personal disaster. Rarely is there a cushion.

        Comparisons of this sort need to be made with similar subjects. Only then can a bell curve give you any semblance of an accurate assessment.

        I think think the underlying reasons may be different.
        While there is always a set of common denominators, most situations, when examined closely, will show their own unique set of circumstances..

        Cheers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    Originally Posted by Orion3003 View Post

    Hey guys,

    So a quick background before my main question. Been an entrepreneur for close to 10 years. Started, scaled and sold 4 companies, now on my fifth where I completely changed industries. I coach executives and help scale companies to either IPO or aquisition.

    My question is, why do high performers who are already at the highest level also struggle with taking action?

    I've coached quite a few but some just delay implementing. What could be the reasons for non action takers? I find it interesting that all levels tend to suffer from this.
    this answer means nothing.. as i am just guessing at the circumstances.. // but the larger a company get the more scale.. the more people involved ..as employees or people in supply chain or customer .. the more non entrepreneurs executive that surround themselves with..and the more people a bad choice will negatively impact .. the more conservative a person becomes ..

    the smaller leaner the faster choice can be made and implemented..with growth and scale .. comes more consideration ..

    but that is just a guess
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  • Ultimately, high performers're jus' like evrywan else.

    Always, there is desire for BEYOND potentially thwarted by WHAT IS ACTSCHWLLY GOWIN' ON.

    This is a hooman dilemma, felt close up by evrywan whose reach momentarily extends beyond whatever forces energize their fingers.

    Truth is, high performers stall same as anywan gowin' noplace figures they got a chance on their dream ... an' then falls through.

    At the threshold of all existence, uncertainty graces nowan with the ultimate ansas.

    Such is the precipice our feet would wish always to be a path.

    We all got this, cos we mortal an' stoopid an' expert an' alive an' dumb.
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    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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