Action: required and desired

To get anything going in your company, some action will be required.

Let’s kick some familiar open doors:

“There are costs and risks to a program of action, but they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” John F. Kennedy

So old but still so true

Also: “We judge ourselves by our intentions, others judge us by our actions”

So how do your create some action that will be successful and help you accomplish the goals? There are three main points to consider:

Understand where you are

It may now be known by my readers that I’m a stickler for Goal Clarity and understanding where you are means in this context, understanding thoroughly what the goals are and what should be done to accomplish them. Without that knowledge you won’t be able to develop any action.

Know your resources

Consider your network, your budget, your co-workers, employees and support services. Ensure you enlist whoever and whatever is possible to get support for your intended action. The first rule of management is “ask help when solving problems” so look around you to see and recognize the resources available. Great start-ups fail because they are underfunded or lack the proper resources to scale when the first wave of success rolls in. Don’t make that mistake but be prepared with all your resources.


Do something to start and let people know about it. Some teams take an inordinate amount of time planning the perfect action but alas when they get ready to take action the momentum is gone and their action, however powerful it was, has been sideline by a sub-optimal but quicker action of another team. Just get started. Take a small step, celebrate that you have started and move forward. Communicating your start is at the same time a good encouragement to continue. It is like going on a diet or stop smoking, if you share your intention you can count on your environment to “shame” you into continuing. Timing has a lot to do with creating an action that will be successful.

A short note about a short list

Lists are powerful tools. You can however overdo it and not get any benefits out of your lists.

There are three main reasons to have a list;

  1. ToDo (action list)
  2. Goal setting (target list)
  3. Don’t forget (master list/bucket list)

There can be thousands of other reasons why you make lists, but those will be of a different nature, like a list of members, a list of your cds etc.

The trouble I see often with people making their TODO lists is that they overdo it. Where your Goal Setting list can be a list with dreams that you are striving for, your TODO list should be realistic and filled with obtainable tasks. You want that list to encourage yourself to get through the barrage of little tasks you need to work through to eventually get your goals accomplished. Once you make TODO lists that are too long or too cumbersome to get through, instead of a motivator (in the evening when looking back at a crossed out TODO list) it becomes a demotivator.

todo listThere is no hard and fast rule about how many items should feature on your daily TODO list, mine was 11 items yesterday and two of them got started but due to waiting for others to cooperate will feature on the list for today too.

There are many paper and electronic systems for your TODO lists, I use google keep but I used to work with “remember the milk” and I also have some lists stored in “evernote“. See what you like and what works for you.

Good luck with your TODOs, keep it short, keep it real, get it done!


Leave your team alone

No we do not advocate abandoning your team but rather, leave your team to do their work without your interference.

Most leaders get to their position as a result of their great performance in previous positions. When you are the person having all the answers and doing great work, there needs to be a transition before you can lead a department or team.

Your team is recruited, selected, educated, trained and experienced to do their work. They should not need your constant involvement other than providing direction and guidance.

It is most demotivating for your team members when you move into the process of doing the work and start dealing with the issues directly. Certainly if you were the person previously doing the work yourself it may be difficult to let go of the work, you have done and leave it to others that may do things differently.

manager on the field

Get off the field!

Getting the most out of your team happens when you leave them alone, however counter intuitive this may sound. Provide them with direction and guidance by setting the goals, tools and resources and get out of the way to see great things happen.

Monitoring the results is a key part of your role and you should have processes in place to ensure eventually the goals of the department/company get accomplished.

There is a delicate balancing act for you. Being involved enough in the work to be able to take responsibility for the work being done well is important. The other side of the scale is that you need to let go of being directly involved in the work and trust the processes and resources you put in place.

It is the equivalent of the coach, who is not supposed to personally enter the playing field but remain on the side and accomplish the results through the team he has recruited, selected, trained and encouraged. How are you doing this? What are your recommendations or tips?