chasing rabbits

By October 21, 2011Leadership

I’m not sure who first coined the phrase “chasing rabbits” but it likely wasn’t a rabbit lover.

With the exception of those who hunt little bunnies, “chasing rabbits” typically refers to those who prefer to get lost on a tangent rather than staying the course.  It’s why people get so worked up over minor issues while the major issues are ignored.

Rabbit chasers drive counselors crazy.  Rather than deal with the root of a problem, they prefer to hack away at the branches.  You  might say, “Let’s talk about …” and the response is, “but I want to talk about …”

Sometimes employees will become rabbit chasers because it’s easier to distract than accept responsibility.  Back in my marketplace days, I noticed that under-performing employees had a wonderful gift of recognizing where other people were under-performing, too.  Somehow they felt by raising awareness of other’s shortcoming it made their own seem less important.

Not all rabbit chasing is malicious.  Many a good leader has put mission and vision on the back-burner (or at least a side-burner) and chased a rabbit.  That’s the curse of the “latest and greatest.”  It’s tempting to always be looking for the new, new thing.

Politicians, especially the experienced ones, know that chasing a rabbit can be dangerous to their electability and it’s why they stay on point.  It’s why when they’re asked a question about world peace they usually say something like, “That’s a good question, Bob.  But the important thing is to get this economy back to work.”  And they never say a word about world peace.  They refuse to chase the rabbit.

Have you been rabbit chasing lately?