By | Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries | knowledge.insead.edu
Don’t chalk it up to a lack of motivation.
Victor’s subordinates were pushing him to make up his mind about a proposed major acquisition. He knew the clock was ticking, but he was worried about the downside. What if the promised synergies didn’t materialise? What if they bought a cat in the sack? The pressure was wearing him down. He felt low and exhausted.
Victor was reluctant to admit it to himself, but he always had the tendency to put off difficult tasks and decisions. Overthinking and procrastination were his modus operandi. He excelled at finding distractions and reasons to keep looking for more information.
Although procrastination can offer relief from unpleasant tasks, the relief is only ever temporary. Putting off dealing with something only makes matters worse, as the Victors of this world usually find out the hard way. And there are many of them: In the United States, an estimated 20 percent of men and women are chronic procrastinators.
Classic signs of procrastination
Does Victor’s behaviour sound familiar? Do you share his tendencies? To find out, ask yourself the following questions: