When to Let Go | 120 Seconds to Better Leadership

What are Sunk Costs?

What’s on my mind today is something that I hear of as sunk costs, or cutting bait, or cutting sling load, which is essentially this concept that sometimes we make a decision to take on a project, or an employee, or a relationship and it becomes clear pretty quickly that it’s not going to be a good fit, and that we need to let it go.  

Don’t Give In to Fear

Yet we have this fear that if we’ve already committed a month of investment, or a certain amount of finances into the investment, we don’t want to let that thing go because then that means we’ve lost all of that that we’ve already invested in that opportunity. So people tend to, because they’re afraid to lose that sunk cost, they continue to invest and reinvest and reinvest, hoping that at some point that bad investment will pay off, when what we really know is a bad investment’s not going to pay off, it’s just hard to admit it.

It’s Time to Let Go

If you’re in a situation where you feel like you’ve made a bad hire, taken on a bad project, a bad client-- that happens, sometimes—here’s your moment. Here’s your encouragement to go ahead and let go of that thing, even though it’s difficult, and we don’t like the way it feels to have lost time and energy and investment in that thing. Because you know deep down it’s not going to work out anyway. And the more you continue to linger and hang on, the more sunk costs you’ll have in the long run.

So, here’s to being decisive, and letting go, and cutting sling load.