The cost of not

The cost of absenteeism to British business is estimated to be in the region of £80 billion per annum.  That’s a major problem, but I think there is a more insidious and potentially significant cost.  The cost of hesitancy.

The old maxim, ‘(S)he who hesitates is lost’ is becoming an understatement.

Rooted in our old world understanding of commercial dynamics, this is never more apparent that in the areas of marketing, communications and entrepreneurialism.  Want to test that theory?  Think about the idea you had on the weekend for a brand name, a stunt, an announcement, a report, a story, a new business venture.  Then google it.

The probability is that somewhere in the world and quite possibly around the corner (actually, everywhere is ‘just around the corner’ these days), someone is already doing or appears poised to do what you’ve thought of.

We need to act faster.  Ideas have a half life and they deteriorate by the second.

Think of that joke that occurred to you when you saw something happen in culture or politics.  The chances are you went to Twitter or Facebook to post your funny reaction.  The chances are that you see the same reaction when you’re there and when you search it, you see that 3,500 people have already had the same thought.  One or two of them have capitalised on the idea and have had their idea shared by hundreds of thousands.

This is not a paean to inaction in the face of this overwhelming competition.  It is a plea to act faster, be true to yourself and go for it.  The marketing approaches of old are largely dead.  The idea that a brand campaign of any real impact can sit in an expensive process for months and emerge as graoundbreaking and effective is dead.  Speed (back to adages) is of the essence.

Our brains, according to scientists, have reduced by the size of a tennis ball in the last 20,000 years.  Like silicon chips, they have been honed.  We are not dumber, we are are smarter and quicker. In parallel, the sum total of human knowledge is doubling at ever-shorter intervals.  In a decade or so, some predict that we will reach singularity: the point at which knowledge goes exponential.  The human requirement then will be to sift and act.

Back to now, here’s what you need to do.  Abandon reticence and act.  You are wise and with that requisite caution, equipped to act.  If you are a marketeer or a CEO or a communications professional, seize all opportunities.  Forget absenteeism in its traditional sense.  Be present in your brand, wherever you are, and act, act and act again.  More your communications strategy to the now, not the future, or there won’t be one.  What are you waiting for?  In the time it takes to finish this sentence…..oh, you know the rest.