Holding Your Nerve in Business Vs The Dangers Of Inactivity

Having agonised along with the rest of the country as England’s lacklustre performance against Slovakia was spectacularly turned around in the dying minutes, my mind wandered not for the first time to how football can be a metaphor for business. In particular on how hard it can be to decide when to hold your nerve when faced with adversity, AND when this slips into the dangerous realms of inactivity.

I’ve long respected Gareth’s leadership style, in fact, my blog on management styles examined his quiet confidence, integrity, and authority during the last European Championship. You can read my thoughts here: https://www.liz-taylor-consulting.co.uk/index.php/2021/08/04/what-can-we-learn-from-famous-leaders/

Yet he isn’t without his critics. And in this game especially it was the lack of action that saw him in the spotlight.

I’m no expert in football tactics or team selection. However, as it looked like England were heading home, I found myself (along with the majority of the ITV commentary team) wondering why Gareth Southgate hadn’t changed anything but one player on the pitch. Another substitute, a change in tactics, anything would have appeared better than keeping things as they were.

As it happens, we were all proved wrong, and England went on to win the game. Did Gareth know all along? Was it written in the stars, or was it sheer luck that saw England through to the next round?

Either way, it got me thinking that there are times in business too, where you must hold your nerve. In stark contrast, there are other times when inactivity can be the death knell for a company. So I want to explore the issues around holding your nerve in business vs the dangers of inactivity.


In business, staying active and responsive is often crucial for success.

Inactivity can lead to missed opportunities and reduced competitiveness. Stagnation. As consumer preferences and technologies change, businesses must innovate to meet new demands.

Take for instance, a common example cited by many business analysts -BlackBerry. Once the go-to handset for young people, it was a brand slow to adopt touchscreen technology. It was quickly left behind. Inactivity for this company meant it paid the ultimate price – near extinction.

Companies that remain inactive may find their products or services outdated, causing a decline in customer interest and loyalty. Blockbuster, for instance, is another company slow to embrace change. For resting on its laurels, this well-loved brand also paid the ultimate price for not actively embracing the ‘new.’

Some lesser thought of upshots of inactivity includes staff morale and productivity. Employees may feel their growth and creativity are stifled. Not just an issue for staff turnover and productivity, but your company culture as a whole.

And of course, if staff and productivity are down, financial performance is sure to follow. Inactive businesses often experience a decline in revenue and profitability, as they fail to capitalise on new market trends or respond to competitive threats.

holding your nerve in business vs the dangers of inactivity


What about the flip side? Keeping composure in the face of challenges is another essential skill for a business leader. Holding your nerve means staying focused and resilient when confronted with setbacks. It is a crucial skill for navigating tough times.

Successful leaders understand the importance of staying calm and assessing a situation objectively. In troubled times, employees look to leaders for guidance and reassurance. A calm head at the helm can create a positive work environment where staff feel secure and valued.

It’s a particularly important skill right now as base rates, inflation, and the socio-economic backdrop have been so unpredictable in recent years.

There have been many ‘hairy times’ throughout my entire career. Times when I could have easily taken a new direction and failed. Recessions, credit crunches, the dreaded ‘P’ word. Would we pivot or remain a live event company. I held firm to my belief that the live event sector would return.

Instead of allowing the business to stagnate, I invested in a greater online presence with a new website and social media. Backed-up by a proactive PR strategy to keep the brand and Liz Taylor at the forefront. I harnessed the PR exposure as I established a new venture, Liz Taylor Consultancy. I used my little black book to secure guests for my new podcast. So, whilst many competitors invested in virtual event studios, I held steady with TLC and was right to do so. Post-pandemic, a bumper year for the business.

However, crucially, we still innovated. And that to me is all the difference. You can stay calm and hold steadfast, but you must find some way to keep moving forward.


So, after tackling the challenges around holding your nerve in business vs the dangers of inactivity, you may well ask how do you know when it’s time to hold your nerve or make a change?

It may sound glib, but I always go with my gut in business. If something feels amiss. If I feel we’re overlooking an opportunity. Or if I simply feel stifled, then I will always opt for action.

Last night, Gareth Southgate’s, inaction or shall we say more politely, resolution, paid off. In this instance, a positive outcome came from standing relatively still. Yet rarely does the business world mirror this. There’s a lot to be said for building a reputation and being a steady ship, but if you fail to innovate you will be quickly left behind.

And if your business does not make the changes, you can be sure your competitors will.

Incidentally, you can read more about why I think competition is a good thing here:  Positive Impacts of Competition in Business – Liz Taylor Consultancy (liz-taylor-consulting.co.uk)

Keen to read more about holding your nerve in business vs the dangers of inactivity? Forbes has some brilliant insight into all aspects of business: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/05/01/moving-forward-in-business-how-to-lead-in-times-of-change/

Thanks for sharing my thoughts on holding your nerve in business vs the dangers of inactivity.