Sitting on the fence: A bad place for decision makers

Be decisive to be a leader. Photo: wikimedia

MISSOURI, April 24, 2013 –Sitting on the fence. Indecision. Procrastination. Don’t you wish people would make up their mine? Right or wrong, but make some decision.  We all are human. We make mistakes but decide and don’t sit upon the fence. 

Our society today does a lot of fence sitting.

Our politicians are infamous for sitting upon the fence and checking the polls or listening to large lobbying group instead talking to their constituents and getting their input to make their decision. Sure they have town-hall meetings and get questions from their constituents, but do they act on it? Invariably, constituents asking for their representatives views hear, “the congressman or Senator has not made a decision on what their position will be.”


The issues were not that complicated, which leads one to believe representatives are fence sitters and want to be politically correct. They should take a position and then tell the people why they are taking that approach to a specific piece of legislation. Remember, they were elected based on their political philosophies and beliefs, so they have been given their marching orders and should act accordingly and keep their voters informed.   

President Truman made decisions that were totally unpopular, such as the firing of General Mc Arthur. He was a person remembered as “Giv ‘em Hell Harry.”  He made decisions for the country versus wanting to check the polls and win a popularity contest.

Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, lived a lifestyle allowed by no other player. Finally, one manager benched him until he lived by the rules that  other players had to abide by.  That was a gutsy decision by the manager, but this famous player turned around and apologized not only to his teammates but the fans.

Have you worked for leaders who made decisions for the bottom line but also considered the human aspects? They did not vacillate, and they made decisions, which sometimes were very hard.

On the other hand, how many leaders have you have been associated with who were afraid to make decisions? You talk about fence sitters; they are experts. They are afraid to take corrective actions, which creates morale problems within the team. Moral problems decrease productivity and cause loss of revenue for the company, which in turn can impact the work force’s paycheck- just because someone was afraid to make decisions.

Taking a chance in life is exciting. While the decision may lead to failure, it could also bring enormous success. Many successful business people have had many failures on the road to success. Failure can also be classified as a lesson learned.

One young employee asked a gray-haired consultant what he did for a living. The consultant replied by saying he had made many right decisions, but also learned from his mistakes, and now uses the database in his brain to help corporations proceed in the right direction.

Decision makers are admired while fence sitters are looked as “wimpy.”

Make decisions to be a leader.

However, that’s just from the time and place I am from—

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Charles Vandegriff, Sr.

Charles is a fifty-four-year career in technology retiring at the directors level from three major corporations. Followed by three-plus years as a free-lance columnist, published three books, over three hundred speeches to senior organizations, radio interviews, one television commercial and finally married for sixty-five years, four children, seven grandchildren and thirteen great grand children. 

Charles is also a Navy veteran.

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