Mañana Syndrome and how it's hurting your business

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Mañana Syndrome is “tomorrow-itis.” We all know it when we see it. “Tomorrow I'm going to get in shape. Tomorrow I’m going to start eating super healthy. Tomorrow I’m going to sign up for that marathon. Tomorrow I’m going to start riding my bike to work every day. Tomorrow I'm going to finish that degree." Mañana Man rarely does. Philosophizing and big talk are his favorite pastime, but he’ll pass on actually doing anything. We’ve all probably been that person at some point.

Tomorrow rarely comes.

Now think of another person you know who is Do Guy or Gal. He/she doesn’t have time for Mañana, they’re too busy doing stuff. They’re the one who says, “Sorry I missed your call, I was in Peru climbing a mountain.” Or, “Can I call you back after I write this next chapter in my book?” Or, “I’m at the children’s museum with my kid, we’re learning about how to make your own rocket. I’ll let you know when we’re done.” Or, "I brought you dinner tonight, we thought you could use the rest." You’ll know the difference between Mañana Man and Do Gal when you bring up an idea they like, say to go camping one weekend, and they say “What’s the first step we can take, right now? Let's put it on the calendar.” Mañana Man won’t commit, and he certainly won’t take that first crucial step of action.

Business owners the world over struggle with this. We've worked with dozens of leadership teams and one of the biggest complaints we hear is, "We get together and have a great meeting. Lots of ideas surface, lots of people give input about how we can improve and get better as an organization. Then we leave the meeting and nothing moves."

Is your leadership team or management team continually operating in Mañana Mode?

Here are some symptoms that your team is stuck in Mañana Mode:

  • You feel like you are pulling teeth to get anyone to actually move the ball down the field.

  • Any new ideas or initiatives feel doomed at the start, you feel hopeless, becuase you know that they aren't going to get executed.

  • You make grand plans during meetings, but fail to see them through.

  • Objectives feel insurmountable because you just can't muster the courage and energy it will take to overcome them.

  • Gut Check: Your team might feel the above, because you yourself are stuck in Mañana Mode.

A small team of Doers will run dizzying circles around a giant team of Talk-Only types.

Some ways to counteract Mañana Syndrome in your own organization

  • Hire Today People.

  • Hire for an Action Bias. Ask in the interview, "Tell me about the last time you had an idea and did it."

  • Allow people the space to fail, as long as they are doing and not just talking.

  • Stop being idealistic and shooting for the moon. When coaching team members, ask them “What’s a small step you could take right now, an action step, that will lead to this goal?” Reward First Downs, not just Touchdowns. Reward Actions, not just Outcomes.

  • Get in a rhythm of acting on decisions that are made, and implement a system where ideas have owners and owners have accountability.

Mañana Man lives in the past or the future, rarely the present. It's the uncle who can't stop talking about his glory days in high school.

Mañana Syndrome kills an organization because it erodes momentum and forward progress.

Cultivating a culture of Do-First and Action will revolutionize your organization. You'll feel like you have wings. There will be a galvanizing updrift, and momentum to every initiative that you decide to execute. You'll feel like you can knock through any wall and move any mountain to get where you need to go.

What ways have you found to be helpful in avoiding "tomorrow-itis"?

For Further Reading & Study

By Chris Cloud

Chris CloudComment