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August 20, 2015

Light at the end of the tunnel

If you are a manager in your own business or somebody else’s, you have to ask yourself periodically the question, “What am I doing?” One of the most important angles in answering this question is to check whether the targets you are trying to reach are still the right ones.

Some of those aims might be hard to verify. The main reason for this difficulty is usually ourselves.

There is the term “escalation of commitment” which describes the tendency to invest additional resources in an apparently losing proposition, influenced by effort, money, and time already invested.

Don’t say, “It can’t be true!” It happens. And very often. ☺

The main reason of this outcome lies in the increase of our commitment as we spend resources on an issue. As our commitment increases, we spend more resources. This picture is valid both in business and social life.

Researchers list some of the reasons of this outcome like getting more satisfaction out of your business as you continue investing, proving yourself to others, believing that failure doesn’t become final as long as the project continues.

To eliminate such mistakes one of the precautions to be taken is setting from the very beginning an upper limit on the resources to be spent. Once that limit is surpassed, one should terminate the project irrespective of how bright the light at the end of the tunnel seems.

A manager has to learn to say “Stop!” to herself/himself.

Song of the week: Boyz II Men – End Of The Road (1993)

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Mehmet U. Soyer

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