But We Had to Do Something

Wednesday, 16 January 2013   |   Creative Thinking

collaboration"But we had to do something!"

I'm willing to bet you've heard this excuse before.  Probably in relation to an action that had far from positive outcomes.  Another idea that I think is closely related to this is the belief that "Any action is better than no action."  In general I do believe that action is better than inaction but whenever I hear the words "but we had to do something" alarm bells start to ring.

This simple phrase generally means that the action was taken purely based on emotion with little to no logical backing and hardly any consideration given to what the actual outcomes or repercussions may be.

Now don't get me wrong.  Often the motive or reason why we had to do something is very real and it is very admirable that you are caring about it.  A poor decision made upon this reasoning is still a poor decision though.  Action is generally better than inaction but the wrong action can be far worse than both.  If you're only justification for an action is that we have to do something, then it is probably time to see if you can find a better way. 

If someone is explaining their actions to you and this phrase comes up, don't fall for it.  Let them know that their caring on this issue is justified and valuable (and that you share it if applicable) but then also remind them that to obtain the best outcome it is necessary to evaluate things logically as well as emotionally.

If you find yourself using this phrase to justify your actions then immediately stop and take a step back.  Look at the big picture.  Think about what the actual longer term outcomes are going to be.

What are your thoughts on this?  Feel free to join the discussion and share your thoughts below.


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