There Is A Cost Of Doing Nothing

By Jackson M. Henry —-

Pacific islanders are known to be laid back and “go easy” type of people. Many hate changes and fear forced mandates. Sometimes, the sheer magnitude of the challenge and fear of its unknown consequence steer people away from possible big business pay offs. My ruback friend calls it “change phobia” whereby Palauans become frozen in doing nothing.

However, doing nothing, in business or politics, has its price. The cost of doing nothing could outpace the cost of taking some calculated risks and trying something new.

This concept popped in my head as I watched President Obama on Fox News remind the Republicans that, “doing nothing is more costly”.

If Palau continues to exercise some of its traditional TTPI culture of “wait and see”, then we may become market chasers instead of market leaders, as they say in Wall Street. Complacency is a type of virus that many of us inherited from the old TTPI days which still haunts Palau today, both in business and politics. Often times, we fail to see its hidden costs.

Rueben Goldmire once said, “do not let the future shock you. Instead, you shock the future”. The point is, changes are inevitable and so policy makers must be prepared to invest for the future now before the future divest them. The tradeoffs will be worth the risks.

Today, Palau is faced with rare opportunities to have fiber optics installed and our sewer system upgraded. Both opportunities have eluded us for years. However, the “go slow and knit pick everything” attitude have superseded professional advisors reports and engineer’s surveys. So I get this feeling that continued delays will wind up costing the republic a lot more in the future. Reminds us of the saying, “justice delayed is justice denied”.

Doing nothing or kicking the can down the road, is easier to do and more comfortable to policy makers because they will not take blame for their failures. Other leaders pass the buck to others to make the decision. But to be a good policy maker or a businessman, the Head Hanchio must stand behind his decision and be accountable for consequences, good or bad.

In business, there is no such thing as staying where you are. Because of fierce competition, either you are moving ahead or falling behind. In nation building, there is no such thing as “nature will provide”. We have to grab the bull by the horns and spark actions to invigorate the economy for our own good.

The worst scenario is to live in denial. Many of us Palauans like to say, “Oh, it will never happen to us”. But this is when danger heightens.

Ever since Palau became a sovereign republic, we turned the horses loose from the barn. So to remain competitive and staying ahead of the pact, doing something and trying something new is the best way to improve our governance and to prosper economically.

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