One of the toughest things to do as a leader is to kill a strategy or a project that isn’t working. There’s something in how people are made that hates the idea of accepting what we know about sunk costs. In truth, good strategy is about making choices of what you’re not doing, as much as what you will do. And leadership enables you to act on those choices, and sharpen the focus for your organization. So why do some leaders hesitate, and drag things out? Obviously the optics don’t feel good. Having said that, it’s worse to show avoidance, once you know it’s necessary.
This moment is not unlike dialing a phone. When you look back on the screen and realize that the second number out of ten is incorrect, you know that it’s not going to send you where you want to go. Sometimes it’s faster to hang up and start from scratch, other times it’s faster to back up and correct the mistake. Either way, every number you dial after the recognition of an error is a waste because it’s not going to send you anywhere productive.