Action, the word by itself draws images of movement. Something is happening. Our daily lives at work are filled with action. We are in motion, taking action, but somehow the results are not in line with our desired results or goals. How can we be so busy and yet not getting where we want to be? If this sound familiar, you need to ask yourself, “Am I taking the right action?”
Take dieting for instance. Have you ever started a diet and just didn’t quite achieve the desired results? I know I have at different times in my life. I set a goal and make a plan, or select someone else’s paln, and I’m off. Many times my efforts have not resulted in smaller numbers on the scale. But, when they have, it has been the result of my taking specific, consistent, and yes correct action.
So it is in the workplace as well. In order for us to achieve our desired goals, achieve our strategic desires, we must take specific action. First, you must have a definitive plan that addresses the steps you will take and the assignments or tasks that need to be completed and how you will measure your progress, but then, you must implement the plan.
Just like in losing weight, a great plan alone will not produce desired results. A weight loss plan may include eating healthy foods, increasing your vegetable intake, reducing fats and sugars, and increasing your exercise. However, if you don’t strap on those tennis shoes and move your body, you won’t be as successful in your weight loss journey. That specific and correct action will be missing.
On your strategic journey, once the plan is created, there are several things that can impede your progress, here are a few:
- Fear of failure. Being strategic can take you out of your comfort zone and comes with some risk. Fearing that you will make a mistake or miss the mark can cause some to leave their shoes in the closet so to speak. Realize that you may make mistakes along the way, but the journey includes gaining understanding from failures and forging ahead with increased knowledge and confidence. In dieting, you may fear trying a new fitness class because you don’t know the moves and are concerned about looking foolish, but the different activity may bring the best results and could turn out to be one of your favorite ways to exercise.
- Lack of commitment. Diets fail because of lack of commitment to see them through. For example, a special event supersedes the commitment. Commitment requires an internalized belief in what you are doing that is ingrained in you, you don’t have to think about it, it becomes part of who you are. You decide to achieve your goal without compromise and take the right action to support that commitment.
- Lack of resolve. Anything worth achieving in life comes with some obstacles, your strategic goals included. When those obstacles come, you must be resolute and continue with your action as you work to overcome the pitfalls and setbacks. Strategy is achieved through drive and perseverance. While dieting, hitting a plateau can test your resolve. Continuing to watch what you eat and exercise even when the scale stops moving for a period of time reflects the resolve you have of achieving your goal.
As leaders we are encouraged to have vision and create plans for competitive success in the workplace. However, the best laid plans are nothing without the action that brings them to life. So, strap on your strategy shoes and get moving!